Today our local CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) program, Sunflower CASA Project honored the 160 abused and neglected children served by their CASA volunteers in 2011.
One hundred sixty children were in the Riley, Clay or Pottawatomie County court system last year. One hundred sixty children were served by awesome CASA staff and volunteers who give their time to advocate for abused and neglected children.
Can you imagine being a kiddo and having your world turned upside down? Wondering what you did, why this is happening, why your parents are upset, wondering what’s going to happen next? I can’t imagine and that’s why I’m a CASA volunteer.
One hundred sixty children seems like a large number for our quaint little area. But it happens.
What’s the saying, “an ounce of prevention…”?
Sunflower CASA is promoting a prevention program we can all be part of.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and Sunflower CASA is asking if you are the one with courage. Are you the one with the courage to speak up if you suspect a child is being abused? Nobody wants to be “that person,” but we owe it to a child if we suspect abuse.
Below are 10 signs of child abuse from the One with Courage website.
- Unexplained Injuries: Visible signs of physical abuse may include unexplained burns or bruises in the shape of objects. You may also hear unconvincing explanations of a child’s injuries.
- Changes in behavior: Abuse can lead to many changes in a child’s behavior. Abused children often appear scared, anxious, depressed, withdrawn or more aggressive.
- Returning to earlier behaviors: Abused children may display behaviors shown at earlier ages, such as thumb-sucking, bed-wetting, fear of the dark or strangers. For some children, even loss of acquired language or memory problems may be an issue.
- Fear of going home: Abused children may express apprehension or anxiety about leaving school or about going places with the person who is abusing them.
- Changes in eating: The stress, fear and anxiety caused by abuse can lead to changes in a child’s eating behaviors, which may result in weight gain or loss.
- Changes in sleeping: Abused children may have frequent nightmares or have difficulty falling asleep, and as a result may appear tired or fatigued.
- Changes in school performance and attendance: Abused children may have difficulty concentrating in school or have excessive absences, sometimes due to adults trying to hide the child’s injuries from authorities.
- Lack of personal care or hygiene: Abused and neglected children may appear uncared for. They may present as consistently dirty and have severe body odor, or they may lack sufficient clothing for the weather.
- Risk-taking behaviors: Young people who are being abused may engage in high-risk activities such as using drugs or alcohol or carrying a weapon.
- Inappropriate sexual behaviors: Children who have been sexually abused may exhibit overly sexualized behavior or use explicit sexual language.
Let’s be “that person”…the one with courage…the one who speaks for abused children.
1 John 3:16
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.