fatality report who died from abuse and neglect in a one-year period. That's
66 children who are no longer with us. That's 66 Hoosier children too many.
The report details how some of these children died. Many at the hands of
their own parents. Many who suffered heartbreaking and prolonged injuries
and unspeakable pain. And many, 50 percent, were under one year of age.
These were little ones, dependent solely on those around them to care for
them, and to keep them safe, whose cries and needs were met with abuse
Child abuse and neglect is not singular to one community — it's in every
community. It's in every corner of our state, from the smallest burgs to the
biggest metropolitan areas of Indiana. It crosses racial categories,
geographies, nationalities, political-party affiliations, and economic
And it's something we can prevent.
Every one of us can do something to combat abuse and neglect before it
happens - before another child becomes a number in Indiana's next
As a Board Member with the Kids First Trust Fund, I challenge every reader
to do something in 2016 to help protect a child from abuse or neglect.
If you see something, say something. Abuse thrives off of silence —
children need your voice. If you see or suspect a child is at risk of abuse
or neglect, call (800) 800-5556. You could save a life, and possibly restore
a family that is in crisis.
Get involved. Almost all abuse and neglect cases reveal stressors - such as
loss of a job, low income, a single parent feeling overwhelmed, or social
isolation - that put families in crisis. Be a listening ear for a neighbor,
friend or relative. Be aware of your community's resources, such as
employment services, food banks, and childcare programs. Refer parents in
need to these resources. You can also volunteer with a child abuse
prevention organization, or even become a foster parent.
Invest in child abuse prevention. Purchasing a Kids First license plate is a
simple, yet very worthwhile way to promote child abuse prevention everywhere
you drive, and 100 percent of all license plates sales goes to support child
abuse and neglect prevention programs throughout the state of Indiana. You
can also make a donation to the Kids First Trust Fund at
www.kidsfirst.in.gov, or call 317.232.0465 for more information.
Whatever you do, do something in 2016. You have 66 reasons to get started.
Together, we can prevent child abuse and neglect.
Candes Shelton, Board Chair
Kids First Trust Fund
Sixty-six. That's the number of children cited in Indiana's recent child