The Garden City Telegram
4/7/2013
OPINIONS AND COMMENTARY

Attack abuse

Prevention programs warrant adequate support from state.

A sea of blue pinwheels has materialized along Kansas Avenue in Garden City and other places in the state — all part of a campaign designed to heighten awareness of ways to combat child abuse.

The Kansas Children's Service League (KCSL), which serves as the Prevent Child Abuse America chapter for Kansas, said the blue pinwheels were planted in various locations to represent the effort to change how communities nationwide address child abuse.

Specifically, it's a way to heighten awareness of prevention fostered by community activities and public policies.

The effort warrants involvement from everyone, starting with watching for warning signs of abuse.

While youngsters often get bumps and bruises through everyday play, wounds to their stomach, cheeks, ears, buttocks, mouth or thighs, as well as black eyes, human bite marks, and circular burns the size of a cigarette point to something more serious.

The Kansas Attorney General's Office urges anyone who suspects a problem to call the Kansas Protection Report Center at (800) 922-5330.

Addressing the problem of child abuse also means providing sufficient resources to help at-risk families.

KCSL knows children need healthy, nurturing homes. Home visits, parent education, mental health services, convenient and affordable day care and substance abuse treatment all aid in the prevention of child abuse and neglect — and are areas where funding cuts make no sense at any level.

Studies show every dollar invested in such programs saves $7 that would be spent on problems down the line.

When parents have the knowledge, skills and resources needed to care for their children, their families and communities become stronger. Good programs and interventions can be lifesavers, especially in a state that every year sees about 300 infants die due to various reasons.

In a poor economy, the stress on families too often leads to the mistreatment of children. Rather than scaling back assistance, it's necessary to recognize programs that work and expose them to as many at-risk families as possible.

The cycle of violence that starts with abuse of a child exacts a painful, far-reaching toll on communities. We can't afford to look the other way.