HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
January 8, 2007, Herald Journal

Protecting our children

By JENNI SEBORA

“To prevent child abuse and neglect by promoting positive parenting, healthy families, and homes where children are valued and loved,” is the mission of Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota.

Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota is the Minnesota Charter of Prevent Child Abuse America and has been serving families and communities since 1979.

An article from the organization’s quarterly publication, “The Networker,” and posted in the Pioneer Press Editorial, Aug. 26, 2005 edition focused on the prevalence of child abuse in the state and the continued need and efforts to address the problem.

A study by the Minnesota Health Department tracked the number of children admitted to hospitals with injuries stemming from physical abuse.

The number of abuse cases differs between child protections workers and medical practitioners because case workers also define neglect, which doesn’t require medical attention, as a form of child abuse.

The article noted that child protection workers served 10,000 Minnesota children in 2001 and 2002, who were victims of neglect or abuse.

Medical practitioners reported that they treated more than 500 children for physical abuse during the same time, with the majority of injuries inflicted on babies less than a year old.

In the majority of cases, parents, including step, and foster parents, inflicted the injuries, the study reported.

When you read and hear these numbers, we must realize, each number is a child, a human being, with emotions, feelings, needs, and wants.

The article further noted that the health care costs of abused children are astronomical and increase over time. The emotional costs are even greater, and often evolve into law enforcement expenses.

Last session, state legislators took a small, needed step toward addressing the issue by passing a law that offers parents of newborns the options of viewing a video that explains what happens to an infant when he or she is shaken violently.

In fact, New York state requires medical providers to discuss shaken baby syndrome with new parents.

Parents sign a statement that they received the information and would share it with everyone who cares for their baby.

When New York piloted the program in eight counties, it saw the number of shaken baby cases drop by 50 percent over six years, and the program was then expanded statewide, the article explained.

When programs are initiated, people, including volunteers, can make a difference in the lives of children. We must all do our part.

A child raised without empathy or support stands a good chance of raising his or her own children the same way, the article stated, and we all know that can be the truth.

“All of our children need to be safe and healthy; they deserve a good education, economic security, opportunities for positive development, and fair legal services that improve their chances to achieve their potential,” Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota executive director Connie Skillingstad said.

Children most certainly deserve that. If we all play our part, whether it’s volunteering, being a good parent, working with a children’s organization, or being a legislator, we can make a difference in the lives of our children. Each and every child deserves to be safe, secure, valued, and loved.

“Children Learn What They Live”

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.

If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.

If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.

If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.

If children live with ridicule, they learn to be shy.

If children live with jealousy, they learn what envy is.

If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.

If children live with tolerance, they learn to be patient.

If children live with encourage-ment, they learn to be confident.

If children live with praise, they learn to appreciate.

If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.

If children live with acceptance, they learn to find love in the world.

If children live with recognition, they learn to have a goal.

If children live with sharing, they learn to be generous.

If children live with honesty and fairness, they learn what truth and justice are.

If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and those around them.

If children live with friendliness, they learn that the world is a nice place in which to live.

If children live with serenity, they learn to have peace of mind.

–Dorothy L. Nolte