April is Child Abuse and Prevention Awareness month.
How sad is it, that we need this?
But we do.
I work with an amazing group of people. My job is to investigate allegations of abuse against the elderly. Their job is to investigate the abuses against children.
I have heard many things said of Child Protective Services. Not all of them nice, from the public. The public who gets angry because someone has the nerve to question the welfare and safety of the children of our country.
These men and women dedicate not only their days, but their nights, their weekends, their time off-to protecting our children.
They go in to domestic abuse settings, drug dealing settings, angry and volatile settings. Just like our law enforcement does. But they do not go in with the protection of a badge, or a gun, or a two way radio. They can call for that help, but they are not armed with this at all times.
I’ve witnessed the hurting children and have seen these people run to their aide. I’ve seen them hug children who appear to never have been hugged before. I’ve seen them feed hungry children. I’ve seen them pursue those who hurt them.
And what many don’t see…
I see them try everything they can to help educate parents who don’t know better. I’ve seen them look for, pursue and create resources when the parents don’t know they exist. Or don’t even realize they need them.
I’ve seen these men and women, who have never met this child before, emotionally invest themselves in to the well being of a child. And often times an entire family.
I’ve seen success on their faces.
And I’ve seen the torment they suffer when they are called about a child who no one knew to save. And a child was hurt.
There is a hush. A stillness. A burden of grief that they carry when a child has been hurt and they are called in.
And I’ve listened while they play with children brought in for special visits with their parents. I’ve listened to the excitement as they get ready to take abused children on special outings, so they can “feel” normal, and experience joy, fun, and play.
I’ve been witness to children excel and progress from injuries and neglected poor health to happier, healthier children. And you can stand back and watch the faces as they pour out of their cubicles to witness a laughing and toddling child. It’s a very good sound to the ears of these people.
It’s sad that we must have protective services for our children. But we do. And until there is no child abuse, we need to do what we can. If you suspect abuse or neglect, call your local Child Protective Services. If you see a family struggling, offer help, or call for help.
We need to be aware before we can change it.
Support children’s rights to be cared for. Support their rights to live their childhoods free of abuse. And full of love.
Blue Ribbon Photo Credit: http://scblueribbon.org/