Let's put this in the "Kids for bucks" program
Letter to the editor
March 29, 2011
To the editor:
April marks the annual recognition of Child Abuse Prevention Month around the country. Sadly, Alaska is ranked third in the country as having the highest rates of child maltreatment per capita by the federal Children’s Bureau 2009 report.
Child abuse is one of our country’s most serious public health problems. Research outlines distinct links between child abuse and a wide range of medical, emotional, psychological and behavioral disorders, including depression, alcoholism, drug abuse, obesity, juvenile delinquency and the need for special education services.
“Safe children, strong families” is the vision of the Office of Children’s Services, whose statutory charge is to respond to reports of abuse and neglect and provide safe haven for those children who cannot remain safely in their own home.
Foster care, while a necessary and important method for ensuring child safety, cannot replace birth parents. Year after year, we see children return to their parents the moment they’re able to do so because the parent-child bonds are so strong. There is no replacing the biological family of origin, nor is that the answer for most of the children who enter the system.
Preventing and responding to child abuse must be a community wide effort. What can you do to help?
• Remember that children are our future; their early development and success have an enormous impact on their future health and success.
• Recognize that prevention is a shared responsibility.
• Speak up about the issue of prevention.
• Reach out to children and their parents.
• Recommend and support opportunities for community based family activities, networks, services, and crisis management.
In Alaska, every 33 minutes a child is reported to OCS due to allegations of abuse or neglect. Forty percent of these alleged victims are children age 6 and under.
We can reduce these alarming statistics if we work together and collectively refuse to settle for anything less than the best for all children in our great state. For more information on OCS and related topics, please visit our website at http://hss.state.ak.us/ocs/.
Read more: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner - Safe children