“The Joy of Children Makes Their Parents’ Hearts Leap!”

by Ed Harpring

In the United States, alone, 2.9 million cases of child abuse are reported every year, and more than 4 children die from child abuse and neglect on a daily basis. Over 70% of these children are below the age of 3.

The statistics are gut-wrenching and a clarion call to action for all of us. We can take steps to educate ourselves but the most important factors are to:

  • Know the signs. Unexplained injuries aren’t the only signs of abuse. Depression, fear of a certain adult, difficulty trusting others or making friends, sudden changes in eating or sleeping patterns, inappropriate sexual behavior, poor hygiene, secrecy, and hostility are often signs of family problems and may indicate a child is being neglected or physically, sexually, or emotionally abused.
  • Report abuse. If you witness a child being harmed or see evidence of abuse, make a report to your state’s child protective services department or local police. When talking to a child about abuse, listen carefully, assure the child that he or she did the right thing by telling an adult, and affirm that he or she is not responsible for what happened.

Sadly, our “throwaway culture” as Pope Francis tells us, diminishes the dignity of human life . . .

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“God’s Abiding Presence”

by Michelle Herberger

Caring for a loved one who has a debilitating illness or who is dying is not something we often prepare ourselves to do. Yet, life has a way of bringing us the challenges we least expected. Even if we have accepted that challenge and are giving care to a loved one, that doesn’t make it any easier. The need for self-care remains.

The basics of self-care are essential and include diet, exercise, and rest. However, many caregivers would speak to the struggle to get those needs met. Because of this, I want to focus on comfort and encouragement to those who walk with and care for loved ones who are sick and/or dying.

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“Report Child Abuse”

by Martine Siegel

April is National Child Abuse Prevention month. Child abuse and neglect are significant public health problems in the United States and Kentucky is a mandatory reporting state.

  • According to child protective service agencies, about 702,000 children were substantiated victims of child abuse or neglect in 2014.
  • Self-reported data consistently show that more than 1 in 10 children and youth experienced at least one form of child abuse or neglect in the past year.
  • More than 1,500 children died in the United States in 2014 from abuse and neglect.
  • The financial costs for victims and society are substantial. A CDC study showed that the total lifetime estimated financial cost associated with just one year of confirmed cases of child abuse or neglect is $124 billion
  • What should you do if you suspect that a child has been abused? It’s normal to feel a little overwhelmed and confused in this situation. Child abuse is a difficult subject that can be hard to accept and even harder to talk about.

Just remember, you can make a tremendous difference in the life of an abused child, especially if you take steps to stop the abuse early. When talking with an abused child, the best thing you can provide is calm reassurance and unconditional support. Let your actions speak for you if you’re having trouble finding the words. Remember that talking about the abuse may be very difficult for the child. It’s your job to reassure the child and provide whatever help you can.

If you believe a child is being abused, neglected or is dependent, remember Kentucky is a mandatory reporting state. Call the Child Protection Hotline number below or the Protection and Permanency office in your county.

Child Protection Hot Line:   1-877-KYSAFE1 or 1-877-597-2331 (Toll Free)

The online Kentucky Child/Adult Protective Services Reporting System is available for professionals to report non-emergency situations that do not require an immediate response from our staff. The website is monitored from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Eastern Time), Monday through Friday. Reports will not be reviewed during evenings, weekends or state holidays.

“Alleviating that Sense of Dread . . .”

by Deacon Stephen Bowling

As our Lenten observance this year comes to a close, I cannot help but feel a sense of trepidation. I know the stories we will relive in the coming days. The Passion itself looms large in my mind and I cannot help but face it like Jesus surely did . . . with a sense of profound sorrow and dread.

We often carry forward our attitudes from childhood and this time of the year is no different. Christmas for me was always a time of joy and anticipation . . . whereas Good Friday always seemed to be a scary but necessary moment which mentally stood in the way of my properly remembering the Easter miracle.

I now know better of course . . . but that feeling of dread still persists in me for some reason. And in feeling that dread in myself, I cannot help but think about those who may live with feelings like that all the time . . .

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