Letter: Resources that prevent child neglect
February 17, 2015
To the Editor:
Last week's guest column reviewed signs of child abuse and neglect to raise our awareness of how to detect, refer, and support children who have lived these experiences. I would like to highlight prevention of these family situations as key to altering their profound consequences for the child.
As in the rest of the United States, approximately 60 percent of the child abuse and neglect picture in Colorado is neglect. Neglect of children's physical and emotional needs results from a variety of circumstances; few parents willfully neglect their children's needs. Poverty is more closely related to neglect than other types of abuse. Chaotic life stressors of unemployment, food insecurity and limited high quality childcare may compound other aspects of the family's circumstances, preventing parents from the focus needed for their child's well-being.
Recent news of the limited resources available for the working poor are some of the contributors to child neglect. A significant event such as illness or death of a family member, extreme medical expenses or the loss of housing or income distract parents' focus from meeting a child's needs.
Community strengths through support in times of need, social connections for family members, and knowledge of parenting and child development enhance the prevention network. Resources provided through programs at Grand Beginnings, Mountain Family Center, WIC, home visitation in the public health department, and CASA are but a few of the local network that contribute to preventing neglect of children.
When you see children in a family where parents are affected by job or housing loss, illness or death of a parent, substance abuse or mental health issue, reach out in whatever manner you find comfortable. Remain active on an individual level, through the school or through financial contribution to prevent neglect of children in our community.