Recently I learned that one of my students was removed from his home because his parent was hitting him. He now lives with his grandparents, who live almost an hour away. They have worked it out so he can stay at our school for the rest of the year - his life is already disrupted enough without having to start a new school in May.
I simply cannot comprehend hitting a child.
I wish I had something profound to say, but that's it. I simply cannot understand it.
According to many news outlets, including CBS, child abuse has been on the rise in the past few years, due to the recession. Parents are stressed out, out of work, and take their frustration out on their children, and additionally funding for abuse prevention and counseling services is being cut.
Want to really feel sick? read the Child Welfare Information Gateway's 2009 report on Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalaties. According to the report,
"The National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) reported an estimated 1,530 child fatalities in 2006. This translates to a rate of 2.04 children per 100,000 children in the general population. NCANDS defines “child fatality” as the death of a child caused by an injury resulting from abuse or neglect, or where abuse or neglect was a contributing factor."
Childhelp.org has some statistics that bring tears to my eyes, not the least of which is the graph showing child deaths due to abuse or neglect per day. The number has gone from just above 3 per day in 1998 to almost 5 deaths a day in 2006. Five children died, on average, every day in 2006. More than 3 out of 4 were under the age of 4.
This is not something that is unique to the community I am working in. We can't say "well, Rosie, you work in a "bad" school in a "tough" neighborhood." No. Child abuse occurs in all cities, in all socioeconomic groups, and within all ethnicities. Just because this is the first time I've been confronted with the reality doesn't mean I haven't worked with other kids who have been hurt by people who are supposed to protect and care for them.
These are our babies. Our children. And instead of protecting them, we are cutting programs to prevent abuse. Child Protection Services across the country are understaffed and dealing with higher caseloads.
I can't be eloquent right now, I just need someone to explain to me what makes it ok to ignore this problem.