By Justin Richmond
On Thursday April 1, Mayor Seth Smith signed a Proclamation declaring April Child Abuse Prevention Month. Each year, nearly 424,000 children in the United States experience abuse or neglect, ushering them into the dependency court and foster care systems. A child in foster care, on average, will move into multiple homes and attend multiple schools.
All this chaos and inconsistency has long-term effects. With schools closing across the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic stay-at-home orders, mandated reporters are not able to view children in person. As a result, some children may have been increasingly exposed to child abuse and neglect, parental intimate partner violence at home, and sexual violence.
With numbers of child abuse cases rising, and with a certain level of selective ignorance still weaved into society, the Court Appointed Special Advocates Organization of the Ouachita Region is doing nothing short of moving mountains in the matters of child safety.
During National Child Abuse Prevention Month, CASA of the Ouachita Region, reminds everyone to keep eyes on children during these challenging times. If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected please call the Child Abuse Hotline – 1-800-482-5964
Let this most recent mayoral proclamation be a catalyst for our community. To care for the children in need, the children in hunger, the children with dread in their hearts as they get off the school bus to go home. No man or woman is exempt from the responsibility of looking after and looking out for these young members of our community.
Let us follow the example set by the heroes of CASA. Each one of the members of this community can be an advocate, Ifl we keep our eyes, ears, and hearts open to even the faintest cries for help.
If you would like to learn more about CASA and how you can make a difference in the lives of foster children please call Cynthia or Amanda at 479-243-9277. If you would like to learn more about becoming a foster parent please go to http://www.fosterarkansas.org #EyesonChildren