As reports and strategies for 2010 on issues that concern our communities continue to come forth, I want to try and help us connect the dots. Most of the time we tend to focus on our particular area of interest and passion when we should be stepping back to look at the landscape around us.
This week a conference was held to release numbers concerning the deaths of children as a result of abuse or neglect in the state of Colorado over the past seven years. The article was titled "Colorado's Number of Shame" 179 children killed from abuse and neglect over the past seven years according to an editorial by Bill Johnson who attended this conference. You can also find statistics for your state by accessing the report from Every Child Matters.
The Denver Post article reports that in fiscal 2008-9 there were 76,000 reports of child abuse and neglect. The state investigated 1 in 3 of these reported cases and of those investigated only 22% received child services. The report goes on to give statistics concerning the future outcome for those children that suffer in a place of neglect and abuse. The article lists high school drop out rates, teen pregnancy rates and the instance of homelessness. However, the impact and devastation is further reaching and continues to impact and burden our state. More on this in a minute.
The other facts that are very evident to many who deal with children, is that the risk for failure in a child can be spotted at an early age. There are education professionals that will tell you they can discern as early as the first grade whether or not a child will complete high school. The will tell you that they can spot the evidence of neglect in a home. They can tell you which children come from a home where there is a lack of parental supervision or interaction.
We also know, from extensive case study and reports, that children who come from a home where there is drug and alcohol abuse are at risk of becoming addicted themselves at an early age. We know the things experienced in the home become the social patterns of these young children for the future.