Child Abuse1

Many children suffer at the hands of adults – often their own parents. They are beaten, kicked, thrown into walls, and/or burned with cigarettes. They have their heads held under the water of toilet bowls, are scalded by hot water or they are forced to stand in freezing showers until they pass out. A child could be stuffed into running washing machines or sexually molested, suffer from neglect in the forms of starvation and lack of medical attention, and still go unnoticed by outsiders. In fact, it is estimated that three children die every day in the U.S. alone from one form of child abuse or another. It is a sickening practice that has no set standard of rules to finish off the persisting problem. Different states have different methods and agencies to help prevent abuse in the home, some work quite well while others bomb – a dangerous gamble when it comes to the life or mental state of a child. The precise number of deaths each year is not known because of the extent of most fatality investigations that could be suspected as child abuse but are seen as open and shut death cases. A report from the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect, however, depicts more than three million reports of alleged child maltreatment practices in the year of 1995 alone. Many more children are living with abuse rather than dying from it, too. So what steps are being taken to protect our nation’s children? All states have a Child Protective Services (or CPS) system. This is the governmental system responsible for investigating reports of child abuse or neglect. In state after state, the CPS agency lacks the resources to respond adequately to the overwhelming number of reports it is legislatively mandated to investigate. All fifty states have child abuse reporting laws requiring reports of suspected abuse to be made by specified professionals and others whose work brings them into regular contact with children. Any citizen may r…

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