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.