April is declared National Child Abuse and Neglect prevention month in the United States. http://www.childwelfare.gov/preventing/preventionmonth/
The month of April usually ushers in Spring and celebrates Easter. April is also a somber month to reflect upon the Giant of Child Abuse and Neglect in our communities. Child abuse and neglect is a horrible plight throughout the United States. Annually, there are over 500,000 children in the out-of-home foster care system monitored by the Federal and State governments.
Child abuse and neglect robs children of the safety and security of a home that was intended to provide care, direction, safety and love. Through each act of abuse, a child’s self-worth and hope is shattered. What is left is the fragment of a human that does not trust or attach to other humans. Child abuse and neglect hurts children but it also steals destiny from our communities as children’s dreams, goals and aspirations are stifled if not killed.
The goal of Child Abuse Prevention month is to raise awareness and build strong community efforts that support victims, children and their families. Child abuse and neglect may seem like an individualized problem, but as the statistics bear out, it is a community issue that needs a community response.
This guide is provided to engage your heart, hands and head. We desire for the statistics to shock you and help build awareness about what is happening in Kern County regarding abuse and neglect. Secondly, we desire that you are motivated to use your hands and get to work serving the fatherless or the modern day foster child or former foster youth. Lastly, we desire to engage your heart and enlist you as a prayer partner and compassionate warrior against the Giant of Child Abuse and Neglect.
What the Bible says about foster children … the modern day orphan or fatherless child.
27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
3 Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. 4 Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. 6 God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.
God’s Heart for the Fatherless
God’s heart breaks for the conditions the “fatherless” face. They have lost their family and have no one to teach them, provide care, mentor, guide or discipline. God declares Himself as the Father to the fatherless. And, God calls His church to do the same … to care for orphans in their time of need. Now is such a time. You are the church. The fatherless have a need. Please help us reach the fatherless by praying today.
What can you do to help – Pray, Give, and Serve!
Pray – Dedicate a portion of your prayer time to lift up the needs of the fatherless, the orphan and the foster children of your community and our world. The plight of the orphan worldwide is dire. Still, together, we can make a difference and the difference begins with prayer. Sign up for our prayer newsletters at www.covenantcs.net
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
Give – There are many ministries and outreaches to foster children in the community that need finances to operate. Find a ministry that you trust that does good work with foster children and give to that organization. Help a foster child or former foster child by giving today. Go to www.covenantcs.net to give to Covenant, sponsor a child or give to a project today.
27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.
15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?
Serve – There are many ways to serve foster children through your church, organization or business. Become a mentor, become a CASA, buy Covenant Coffee, become a foster parent, adopt a child, sponsor an orphan overseas or in the USA … simply get involved today to change generations of tomorrow. Go to www.covenantcs.net to find ways you can get involved in Kern County.
Statistics on Child Abuse and Neglect in Kern County
In the time period between October 2009 – September 2010 …
18,671 had one or more allegations for child abuse and neglect. That is:
- 359 children referred for investigation each week, or
- 51 children a day, or
- Over 2 children suspected of being victims of child abuse and neglect each hour
After investigation, 4,711 children were confirmed victims of child abuse and neglect. That is:
- 90 children confirmed as victims of abuse and neglect a week, or
- 13 victims of child abuse a day, or
- 1 child confirmed as abused or neglected every hour!
Of the children in foster care between October 2009 and September 2010 …
- 4,004 children or 85% of confirmed child abuse victims were classified as “general neglect”
- 236 children or 5% of confirmed child abuse victims were classified as “physical abuse”
- 94 children or 2% of confirmed child abuse victims were classified as “sexual abuse”
- 661 were reunified with family
- 299 were adopted
- 140 “aged out” of the system
Point-in-time statistics for October 1, 2010 …
2,069 children lived in out-of-home care in the following settings:
- 688 lived in Foster family Agency homes
- 569 lived in Kinship homes
- 186 lived in County Foster Homes
- 158 lived in group homes
Of the 2,069 children in foster care on October 1, 2010 …
- 51% were male
- 49% were female
- 62% were between the ages of 6 and 17.
- 27% of those in foster care were between the ages of 11-15