Preventing Abuse and Neglect in our Community
by Claudia Martinez
Child abuse and neglect are significant public health problems in the United States. In New Mexico, there were 40, 855 total referrals for child abuse and neglect in 2015 alone. Of those referrals, 21,798 were referred for investigation (CWLA, 2017). Most child abuse cases occur within the family. According to the child protective service agencies, about 683,000 children were victims of child abuse or neglect in 2015. Some risk factors for child abuse include a parent or parents with a type of mental health issue, a parental history of childhood abuse, and domestic violence. Children who are abused not only end up suffering from physical injuries, but also are often affected by psychological injuries from abuse. Abused children often develop mental health issues, social development issues, they can develop high risk-taking behavior like smoking or drug abuse, or they can be delayed in their academic progress.
It is not always easy to recognize when a child has been abused or is being neglected. Injuries that can be physically seen are the biggest red flags. Here are some other warning signs of child abuse and neglect that are important to learn:
• Difficulty walking or sitting
• Difficulty sleeping or having nightmares
• Anti-social, fearful, or withdrawn behavior
• Decline in academic performance, progress, or academic attendance
• Frequent complaints of unexplainable stomach aches or headaches
Child abuse and neglect can be preventable in New Mexico with help from the Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention Program (CBCAP). The CBCAP is under the Children, Youth & Families Department (CYFD) and aims to support community-based efforts in order to develop, operate, expand, enhance, and coordinate initiatives, programs, and activities to prevent child abuse and neglect. The CBCAP grant has provided the state of New Mexico with the opportunity to support direct service delivery programs, training, and public awareness activities focused on child abuse and neglect prevention. With programs such as the CBCAP and help from the community of New Mexico, New Mexico can become a better and safer place for children to grow and thrive.
The parents or primary/secondary caregivers of children 0-5 years of age must meet the program requirements. Family must not have an active case open with CYFD at the time of referral or have a substantiated case within the last 6 months. If you or someone you know are interested in this program, please contact Brandy Vasquez at 575-526-6682 or at email@example.com for more information.
Newsletter | Fall 2017