Child Abuse

On January 6, 2012, ABC news published a story on child abuse.
The story was based on a study of child abuse cases from 2006.
It states that 4,569 children in America were hospitalized that year due to
child abuse. 300 of those children died from their injuries.
The highest rate of abuse was to children under a year old, finding that 58
of every 100,000 babies needed serious care for abuse related injuries.
For most child related hospital stays, the length of time in the hospital was
double that of non-abuse related injuries.
The article also discussed the financial cost of child abuse warranting
hospital stays, stating: “The average hospital stay cost $16,058, compared with
$9,550 for non-abuse-related injuries and $7,964 for other illnesses, bringing
the national cost of abuse-related hospitalizations to $73.8 million — a
fraction of the estimated $124 billion spent on justice, education, health care
and social support for children who survive abuse and neglect, according to the
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
Really, $124 Billion a year spent on child abuse related things???
The costs above do not include anything but the cost of hospital stay and do
not include counseling, therapy, continued care after the child leaves the
hospital, legal costs, or the costs of moving the child to foster care.
The article mentions that helping parents learn to parent in the early stages
of pregnancy might help save countless families.
So I have been mulling this article over now for just over a month. The final
thing the article shares is that hospitalization only represents about 2% of the
children that face some form of child abuse. That means they are estimating that
228,450 children are being abused in their homes.
So what can we do to make sure more parents know how to properly discipline
and parent their children? How can we help drop the number of abuses? What kinds
of programs would be necessary to reach parents in the early stages of
pregnancy?
My guess is that many times, abuse comes from families with less income and
frequently from younger parents (meaning teenaged parents who are still maturing
themselves). Though the study found that low income was a big cause, there are
abuse situations from every level socio-economic status.
It seems to me that this is something that churches could really focus on in
doing community service and reaching out with the love of Christ to their
communities. If churches offered free parenting classes, perhaps these abuses
would decrease drastically. The Bible certainly has a great deal to say about
parenting, and Christians are supposedly quite interested in the family
structure and how healthy family structure affects the state of the nation.
I think that offering free classes would allow the church to recognize and
properly care for some great needs in every community across the nation. It
would also allow the church to positively effect the community. Churches are
often generally inviting enough, that people in all socio-economic levels
generally feel comfortable there. The church is not a place for the rich or the
poor; it is a place for hurting humans in need of help, regardless of what the
struggles may be. So my challenge is this, see what your church can do to help
take this burden from the state and to help alleviate this problem in your
community.
Click here to read the full ABC News story.