Editorial: Saving kids all our business


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Posted Online: Dec. 04, 2012, 9:58 am
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The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus
The headlines all too often are filled with stories of brutality against children.

For example, just a week apart in late November, this newspaper featured reports of a Rock Island pair making initial appearances on Class X felony counts of aggravated battery to an 8-year-old and a Cordova man professed his innocence on charges of aggravated battery against his 4-month-old son, whom authorities say suffered two skull fractures while in his care.

We know that such instances are all too commonplace. But we still were taken aback by word from the Illinois Department of Children and Family services that child abuse and neglect cases in Rock Island and Mercer counties last year were twice the statewide average. If that doesn't sound like a lot, we invite you to do this: Look into the faces of the kindergartners at your local grade school and consider that at least one of every 50 of these fresh-faced young people is being impacted by abuse and/or neglect.

Nearby counties -- Knox, Warren and Henderson -- share the dubious distinction of double the statewide average. While stats for other metro-area counties weren't as high, they still were unacceptable.

It doesn't make us feel any better about the terrible statistics to find out that DCFS says the horrible numbers here are part of a decade-long statewide trend of rising downstate child abuse and neglect cases.

Misery most assuredly does NOT love company, and the only bright spot we can find here is if the news galvanizes our community to root out the causes of abuse and neglect and then act to reduce the number of children in jeopardy.

Money is almost certainly a factor. Hard times means not enough cash for things like food, adequate clothing and utilities, fostering neglect. They also increase parental frustration levels and kids suffer the consequences. Tight state, federal and local budgets also squeeze out the kinds of community-based programs that help prevent neglect and abuse.
Decreased funding and other issues at DCFS, also make it harder to investigate, uncover and monitor abusers.

Acknowledging the problem, of course, is only half the battle, so we are encouraged that local leaders say they are ready to focus on the problem. But they will need community support to make a real impact. Elsewhere in Viewpoints today, Sue Swisher, executive director of the Child Abuse Council in Rock Island, offers some steps each of us can take to help attack the problem.

They may not be our children, but their well-being is the responsibility of everyone in a civil society, so please don't turn away.

Do all that you can to help prevent child abuse today.



















 




Local events heading








  Today is Wednesday, Sept. 17, the 260th day of 2014. There are 105 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: We are told league merchants have paid no attention to the prohibition on selling ammunition, but continue to sell just as before the order was issued.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The Rev. R.F. Sweet, rector of Trinity Episcopal Parish, left for the East to visit his boyhood home in Boston before attending the general convention of the Episcopal Church in New York.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Dr. E.A. Anderson was named to succeed Dr. E.L. Kerns as head physician of the Modern Woodmen of America, and moved to Rock Island from Holdingford, Minn.
1939 -- 75 years ago: One week late, because of the outbreak of war, Dr. E.L. Beyer resumed his work as professor of romance languages at Augustana College. Dr. and Mrs. Beyer left Germany on the last train to the Belgian border.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Employees in Turnstyle stores in Moline and Davenport will vote Oct. 2 in an election set up by the Chicago regional office of the National Labor Relations Board. Employees will vote either for the Retail Clerk International or for no union.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Rock Island High School is considering a step to help teen moms stay in school and get their diploma. The school board is expected to vote tonight on instituting an on-site child care center.


(More History)