Memorial T-shirts to be displayed during Child Abuse Prevention Month

 

Information from La Porte County Family Advocates

Sixty-one Hoosier children lost their lives in 2019 – not from disease, an accident or a natural disaster – but rather by the hands of those they loved and trusted. Two of these children were from La Porte County. These children would have been the future teachers, nurses, doctors, mothers and fathers of our community.  

In 2020, 3,364 calls were made to the Child Abuse Hotline to report abuse and neglect in La Porte County – 380 children were found to be in danger.  

The pandemic created unique challenges for those working with struggling families and many families went without the help and guidance they needed. Virtual-school challenges, loss of employment and loss of loved ones caused new stresses for families who were now isolated from their social support systems.  Domestic violence, substance abuse and child abuse became hidden in 2020. Between March and July of 2020, the number of abuse reports decreased from an average of 250 per month to 130 during the lockdown months. Those numbers increased again once school started in August and people were again outside of their own homes.  

What can we do? 

Our first responsibility is to report suspected abuse. April has been set aside as Child Abuse Prevention Month to remind us that we have an obligation to protect our children by unanimously reporting suspected child abuse or neglect to the Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-800-5556.  

You can volunteer. Children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect are appointed a Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteer. This CASA volunteer serves as the eyes and ears for the judge and helps to ensure that the child’s best interest is heard. Unfortunately, 59 children are waiting for their CASA volunteer.  You can be their voice.  

Family Advocates will be placing 122 children’s T-shirts in La Porte and Michigan City to memorialize the children lost due to abuse and neglect. Boy Scout Troop 396 completed stands for the shirts as a troop project to help raise awareness. The shirts will be on display, in both locations, for the month of April to remind the community of the children we lost. Two of the shirts, in La Porte and Michigan City, will have a red wreath to commemorate the 2 children from La Porte County who died in 2019. In La Porte, the shirts will be displayed on the courthouse lawn and in Michigan City, they’ll be displayed by the “You Are Beautiful” sign.

Join Family Advocates in spreading awareness of abuse and neglect so that another child does not have to live in fear.

Family Advocates’ vision is a world where every child who has experienced abuse or neglect is given the opportunity to thrive in a safe and loving home. More CASA volunteers are needed. Join us: www.lpfamilyadvocates.com/volunteer or call 219.324.3385.

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