Awareness, action key to ending local child abuse cycle

Through late April, Children and Youth Services of Lycoming County received 180 child abuse reports. That is not a misprint. Of the reports, 18 have been verified as legitimate.

The agency and Susquehanna Valley Court Appointed Special Advocates held ceremonies recently to raise awareness about the county’s child abuse problem.

Pinwheels reading “every child matters” were planted in one of the gardens outside the Lycoming County Courthouse.

Sadly, while pinwheels may raise awareness to the problem, they can’t solve it.

Preventing child abuse starts with knowing the risk factors and addressing them aggressively.

Those risk factors include details such as a child having special needs, parents with substance abuse problems or families living in poverty. A frequent trigger to child abuse is someone growing up abused, with mental, emotional, behavioral and physical problems as a result. That can lead to criminal activity, abuse of their own families and addictive tendencies.

Know the signs and work within your own setting to stop child abuse.

The frequency of child abuse in Lycoming County cannot be allowed to continue. It will only beget a larger pool of potential child abuse cases.

This cycle must be stopped. We all need to make it our business to end it.