By Curran, Lake County Sheriff Mark; Perez, Kane County Sheriff Patrick; Zaruba, DuPage County Sheriff John
Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran, Kane County Sheriff Patrick Perez and DuPage County Sheriff John Zaruba
Curran, Perez and Zaruba are members of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Illinois
As the sheriffs of DuPage, Kane and Lake counties, we've seen many serious, disturbing crimes. But there is nothing more gut wrenching than seeing a child hurt or killed by those people charged with their care and safety - their parents or guardians.
There have been several disturbing cases of child abuse involving parents or guardians in the region over the last year. In DuPage County in 2007, a father was charged with killing his two young sons by setting them on fire. Just last September in Kane County, another father was convicted in the beating death of his 1- month-old son. And this April, a Lake County mother was charged in the stabbing death of her 6-year-old daughter.
The entire criminal justice system works hard to respond to these and other incidents of child abuse. We have trained investigators who investigate these crimes, as well as prosecutors who specialize in abuse and neglect cases. And there are advocates and social workers that work to make sure children who survive abuse have a safe place to live and that they receive the services they need.
There are other long-term consequences of child abuse. Though most children who suffer abuse and neglect can grow up to be healthy and successful, research shows that kids who survive abuse are more likely to commit violent crime as adults. In Illinois, the research suggests that more than 1,100 children who are abused and neglected this year will grow up to be violent criminals.
Thankfully, we know how to prevent these tragedies. Research shows that intensive home visiting programs can reduce child abuse and neglect. …