Statement issued Thursday:
INDIANAPOLIS – As shoppers begin planning their Black Friday shopping strategy, the Indiana Dept. of Child Services (DCS) is encouraging Hoosiers to wear blue as they hit the stores. The national attention the Penn State child sex abuse case has received has caused state child welfare agencies, child advocate organizations and concerned Americans around the country to raise awareness about the child abuse problem in this country. Since 1989, the color blue has been worn during Child Abuse Prevention Month in April as a reminder about the bruises too many innocent children endure.
“Recent events have brought the topic of child abuse into mainstream conversations,” said James Payne, DCS Director. “It is important we continue to not only discuss abuse and neglect, but as a community, develop more ways we can protect children and prevent families from entering the child welfare system.”
The problem of child abuse in America cannot be overstated. In Indiana alone, about 150,000 calls a year come into the child abuse/neglect hotline. Currently more than 9,000 Hoosier kids have been removed from their own homes and living in foster care because they were victims of abuse or neglect. It seems nearly every day there are more news stories about child abuse, neglect, abandonment and even death. For some of those children, no one could have prevented or even predicted what eventually happened. But in the vast majority of cases, if someone had been involved early to offer help, a tragedy could have been avoided. Thirty eight innocent Hoosier children died from abuse or neglect in State Fiscal Year 2009, the most recent year for which data is available.
Hoosiers are encouraged to step up today to help a child. While parents and family members must accept responsibility for the care of their children, everyone and anyone can help keep children safe. Zero tolerance of child abuse and neglect should be the goal. The mission of all Hoosiers should be to serve the children of Indiana. They are our future and deserve the best we can provide; a future in which they are safe from abuse or neglect.
Help raise awareness about child abuse. Wear blue on Black Friday.
About Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS):
DCS is committed to protecting children who are victims of abuse or neglect. The Agency’s primary goal is to safely keep these children at home with their families by offering appropriate support services. If safety continues to be a concern, relative or foster care placements are necessary. DCS also oversees adoptions from the foster care system and manages the Child Support Bureau. The Kids First Trust Fund, supported by the sale of ‘Kids First’ specialty automobile license plates, subsidizes child abuse and neglect prevention programs. In collaboration with the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts, DCS’ Books for Youth initiative is targeting a Super Goal for the Super Game: collect 750,000 books for foster kids by Feb. 2012. Child abuse/neglect hotline: 800.800.5556. www.in.gov/dcs.