Prepare for child abuse month

Next month will be Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Children’s charities will cover the doors of local businesses with symbolic blue ribbons. Schools will have poster contests, and charities will take advantage of a heightened awareness and additional fundraising dollars.

But what will you do?

Hopefully you weren’t abused as a child and you don’t abuse your own children, but that, I am sad to say, would put you in a minority in this country.

Every day, child abuse is reported on average every 10 seconds in this country, totaling more than 3 million reports a year. Those are just the &uot;reported&uot; cases.

Each day in America, (the greatest country on earth and a &uot;Christian nation&uot;), three children die as a result of abuse and neglect in their own homes.

Child abuse, not cancer or automobile accidents, is the leading cause of death for children ages 4 and under.

Only 15 percent of the expenditures of state and federal funds given to children’s programs are directed toward prevention. The other 85 percent goes toward problems, which have arisen because they weren’t prevented in the first place.

Talk about getting the cart before the horse.

Daycare employees working with children during their most developmental stages are paid less; educators who teach them are paid little; and even in the medical profession, pediatricians (not that some of these children have ever seen one) are paid less than any other type of physician.

Foster children in this state receive about $8 for care a day, while our prisoners receive $16 a day &045; a travesty indeed.

There is a tremendous cost to us as a society and as individuals if we do nothing.

Child abuse and neglect are seen as social problems, but they are also economic problems.

They increase costs in our education system, negatively affect our future workforce, increase juvenile crime, promote predispositions to drug and alcohol addictions, contribute to our overcrowded prison system, decrease our work ethic and produce a decline in our nation’s moral values.

Child abuse and neglect impact the entire future of the next generation.

So what can we do to help?

Alabama native Helen Keller once said, &uot;I am only one, yet I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can do.&uot;

&uot;Something&uot; that you can do on a local level is to become involved with the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA).

It is a nonprofit organization, which recruits, and trains volunteers to go through the court process with abused and neglected children in Shelby County.

These children need caring and compassionate people who will speak up for them in court.

You don’t have to be &uot;qualified,&uot; because you’ll be trained and equipped with everything you need to know to help the children you will serve.

CASA is hard volunteer work with life-changing rewards.

Spring training classes start soon; so call Mac Stinson today at 669-6498, or email bethchapman@bellsouth.net for information on this worthwhile organization.

Please don’t refuse to do the &uot;something&uot; you can do.

After all, the children of today are the adults of tomorrow.

Let’s work to prevent child abuse and neglect today &045; not wait to repair the damage tomorrow