Lucas County Children Services (LCCS) will mark April as Child Abuse Prevention Month with its annual Child Memorial April 24 at 11:30 a.m.
The solemn ceremony will begin at Government Center. Participants will march to the LCCS offices for the raising of the child memorial flag.
This year’s ceremony will remember three-year-old Kaycie Bork, who died of alleged abuse in October 2008. It will also feature the winners of the agency’s Child Abuse Prevention Month essay contest. Seventh- and eighth-graders from Lucas County were encouraged to write on the topic of “Every Child has the Right to Be Safe.”
“Problems like child abuse and neglect, poor parenting skills and poverty continue to affect children in Lucas County,” said Dean Sparks, executive director of Lucas County Children Services. “It is tragic that even one child died this year, and it’s important that we recommit ourselves to preventing other children from suffering the same fate,” he added.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children & Families estimated that in 2006, four children died each day as a result of maltreatment. More than 1,500 children died that year out of the 905,000 who were confirmed victims of maltreatment. More than three-quarters (78 percent) of children who were killed were younger than 4 years of age; 12 percent were 4-7 years of age; 5 percent were 8-11 years of age; and 5 percent were 12-17 years of age.
The Web site, www.childhelp.org reports that while there were 3 million reports of child abuse in 2006, experts believe three times as many children are victims of incidents of abuse and neglect, but their cases go unreported. The consequences are significant: children who experience child abuse & neglect are 59 percent more likely to be arrested as a juvenile, 28 percent more likely to be arrested as an adult, and 30 percent more likely to commit violent crime. A third of child abuse victims go on to abuse their own children.
In Lucas County...
• The largest percentage of referrals (44 percent) relate to allegations of physical abuse, followed by neglect (38 percent), sexual abuse (16 percent) and emotional abuse (2 percent).
• Six in ten (61 percent) alleged perpetrators of child maltreatment were mother or father figures, with the majority being mother figures (39 percent). Other relatives comprised 14 percent of alleged perpetrators. Paramours of the caretaking parent or other non-related adults accounted for 16 percent of all cases.
• Forty percent of alleged child victims were 5 years old or younger. Pre-teens (6 to 12 years old) accounted for 37 percent of child victims, while teens accounted for the remaining 23 percent of victims (1 percent unknown).
• Girls are slightly more likely (51 percent) than boys to be victims of abuse or neglect.
The mission of Lucas County Children Services is to lead the community in the protection of children at risk of abuse and neglect. This is accomplished by working with families, service providers and community members to assess risk and coordinate community-based services resulting in safe, stable and permanent families for children.