By de Kervor, Dylan Nicole
Nation's Cities Weekly , Vol. 27, No. 18
During the month of April thousands of people donned blue ribbons, the official symbol of the fight against child abuse and neglect, in recognition of Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Leaders in cities around the nation are implementing programs in their communities to combat child abuse, a serious problem that transcends geographic and socioeconomic lines to affect the youngest members of society.
A report released in early April by the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System found that child protective service agencies received about 2,600,000 reports of possible maltreatment in 2002.
There were 896,000 substantiated cases of maltreatment of children; this number includes neglect, medical neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse and psychological maltreatment.
Child fatalities are the most tragic consequence of these abuses. In 2002, an estimated 1,400 children died from abuse or neglect, and recent studies in Colorado and North Carolina have estimated as many as 50 to 60 percent of deaths resulting from abuse or neglect are not recorded.
Local elected officials across the nation are responding to the problem of child abuse through various means--from citywide proclamations to communitywide conferences.
Davis, Calif., wrote a proclamation that included recognition and support of those agencies in the community that work to combat child abuse and support victims of such abuse.
In Bonman, Texas, Mayor Wayne Moore signed a proclamation encouraging members of the community to work toward providing victims of abuse a chance for safe and positive futures.
Mayor Susan Spence of Superior, Colo., stressed the responsibility that lies with city and county employees to report incidences of abuse and/or neglect to the proper authorities.
In Cumberland County, N.C., 135 students participated in a "Breaking the Chain of Abuse Activity," held April 2. Students from around the county constructed a 10-foot chain using colorful construction paper.
During a special ceremony at the Fayetteville City Hall, all the links of the paper chain were connected as Mayor Marshall Pitts read the city's proclamation to stamp out child abuse in Cumberland County. …