National Child Abuse Prevention Month: Bringing Awareness to a Growing Concern

According to the National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association, there are approximately 1,900 children that become victims of abuse or neglect every day in the United States. 646,000 neglected and abused children end up in foster care each year. These staggeringly high numbers attest to the fact this issue is an increasing concern in the country. Each April, during National Child Abuse Prevention Month, the nation focuses on fighting the growing trend of child abuse.

National Child Abuse Prevention Month

In 1974, President Richard Nixon signed the first federal child protection legislation known as the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA). The first National Child Abuse Prevention week occurred in June of 1982, and the following year President Ronald Regan officially named April National Child Abuse Prevention Month. After 40 years, the CAPTA is going strong fighting for the rights of the many children that have suffered abuse.

Although the harsh reality of child abuse is brought to the forefront in April of every year, it will take communities to band together to constantly advocate for those whose voices have been taken away. To help bring awareness to this issue, the Protect Our Children Act evaluates current programs and prevention efforts and recommends an effective strategy to prevent child abuse and neglect fatalities throughout the nation.

To report abuse in your area, you can either contact your local child welfare agency, your law enforcement agency or your state’s child abuse reporting hotline. Each state has appointed professionals (e.g., social workers, physicians and child care providers) that are required by law to report child abuse. In Wyoming and New Jersey, every person is mandated to report abuse or neglect. In New Jersey, you can dial 1-877 NJ ABUSE (1-877-652-2873), and your report can be taken anonymously.

Every child has a right to feel safe enough to sleep at night – without the fear of being a victim of any form of abuse.

Get more insight on the types of abuse that exist and who it affects most on the Prevent Child Abuse America’s website.

Adoption Story: Heidi Davis and Sharia Renee Davis

Heidi Davis didn’t become a foster parent with any intention of adoption.

She already had three daughters of her own. Still – the Branchburg resident wanted to help children in need so she, along with her husband Roger, went through the licensing process and opened their home.

Adoption StoryBut if you asked them if they ever intended on adding a member to the family permanently, they’d flatly tell you no.

Sharia changed all that.

The then 16 month old girl was placed with Davis on February 28, 2012. Continue reading

National Adoption Day

For some, it’s just another day in November.

national adoption dayBut for others, it’s one of the most important days of their lives, a moment they’ll treasure and think back upon with tears welling up in their eyes. For parents, it’s a day when their families become complete; for children, it’s a day when they finally become part of a loving family.

It’s November 22, National Adoption Day.

Founded in 2000 by a coalition of national partners, National Adoption Day has helped about 50,000 children move from foster care to a forever family.

According to the National Adoption Day Coalition, the number of events grew from 17 in 2001, to 120 in 2003 and to about 400 events in 2011 in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. Continue reading

Should Siblings Be Placed Together in Foster Care?

should siblings be placed together in foster careWhen a child is removed from her home, there is no one who understands the trauma of parental separation and loss like a sibling. The bonds between brothers and sisters are strong and unique. They can provide security, comfort and strength during what is an unimaginably difficult time.

It’s with this in mind that an emphasis has been placed on placing siblings together in foster care.
Placing siblings together in foster care Continue reading

Psychotropic Medication and Foster Children – Where Do You Stand?

Psychotropic Medication and Foster ChildrenThe use of psychotropic medication on children in foster care is a widely debated topic. Some feel that foster children are medicated simply to make it easier for their foster parents, school officials and caseworkers to handle their behavior. Others feel that these vulnerable young people, having been victims of abuse and neglect at the hands of the people they love the most, need medication to help them cope with what they’ve experienced. No matter what your opinion is on the matter, there is little argument that the long-term effects of these drugs on young people needs to be carefully studied and the benefits and drawbacks carefully assessed. Continue reading

Making Aging Out of Foster Care an “In” Topic

Imagine being 18 and on your own, with no family and no support system. That’s the fate that faces many youth aging out of foster care. Many states, including New Jersey, have upped the age to 21. Here’s why:

aging outTransitional youth, youth in transition or youth aging out of foster care are all terms for a group of young adults in the United States who need special attention. After being in the foster care system due to neglect or abuse, these individuals now face another major challenge. Ms. Claudia Rowe of Crosscut.com wrote about a young woman named Lane, “She spent the three years from 18 to 21 trying, and failing, to find a foothold. She worked as a day laborer, dabbled with selling drugs then went back to couch-surfing. At 21, Lane won admittance to community college with a GED and full-ride scholarship, but soon dropped out, overwhelmed by the pressures of living on her own as an adult when she was, by most measures, still just a kid.” What if Lane had the opportunity for three additional years of support? Continue reading