The month of April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. This is an issue that is very special to me. Early in my life I worked at Butterfield Youth Services in Marshall, Mo. and I saw firsthand the results that physical, emotional and sexual abuse caused young children. I saw a young boy with burn marks all over his body given to him by his drunken mother.
Later in life I was privileged to serve as the Director of the Missouri Department of Social Services and in this role I was responsible for the care and custody of over 10,000 children who were in foster care. Most of these children had been subject to some form of child abuse but they all had the potential for a bright future. These children simply need what many of us take for granted — someone to love them unconditionally. If you have time in your life I encourage you to contact a local child welfare agency or the state Department of Social Services and volunteer to spend time with these young people or become a foster parent or adoptive parent. I assure you that this experience will change your life.
Even in the best of times the pressures of being a parent can be overwhelming. So in these difficult financial times when so many people are out of work and without health insurance, we must be more diligent than ever to make sure that all children are safe from abuse or neglect. If you have reason to believe that a child is not safe, you have the responsibility to call the child abuse hotline. In Missouri the number is: 800-392-3738; in Kansas the number is 800-922-5330
Every child deserves to be loved unconditionally by someone…is that someone you?
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