Op-Ed from the office of Senator Carlos Uresti

March 25, 2010
Mark Langford at 210-932-2568

Child Abuse Prevention Month — time to Go Blue! for kids in your community

By Sen. Carlos Uresti

Where ever you live, when you tuck your kids into bed each night and give them that loving peck on their sleepy heads, not far away other children are lying awake in pain, fear and hunger.

Last year alone, there were more than 68,300 confirmed cases of child abuse and neglect in Texas, and 280 kids died at the hands of their parents, relatives or other caregivers. The fiscal costs of child abuse -- incurred by law enforcement, courts, and prevention and treatment programs -- run into billions of dollars each year.

The human and emotional costs -- in terms of lives lost and childhoods destroyed or forever marred -- are incalculable.

The battle against child abuse and neglect is an ongoing effort at many levels, but April presents a special opportunity for everyone to remember how important it is, and I'm urging everyone to participate in Child Abuse Prevention Month.

During this month of heightened public awareness and education about child abuse and neglect, we must recommit ourselves to this cause and strengthen our resolve to protect young children -- the most vulnerable people in society. Our communities simply cannot sustain the tragic pace of child abuse they are experiencing right now.

Public awareness alone is an amazingly effective weapon in this fight. By acknowledging the breadth of the problem, recognizing the warning signs for abuse and being vigilant, many potential instances of child abuse can be averted altogether. The message of prevention can take many forms -- watching out for kids next door or down the street, helping neighbors in distress, donating to the local food bank, and getting your friends and your church involved in community events.

Much can be accomplished just by being a good neighbor.

The blue ribbon is the international symbol for child abuse prevention. Representing the bruised and battered bodies of abused children, blue ribbons are a constant reminder that we all have a role to play in keeping children safe.

On Wednesday, April 7, Child Protective Services workers in Bexar County and the Bexar County Child Welfare Board will be wearing blue clothes, blue ribbons or blue lapel pins to show their support for child abuse prevention, and they're encouraging others to do the same. It's a great idea, and I'm urging everyone in towns and cities across Senate District 19 to Go Blue! at least one day this month.

And when someone asks you what that ribbon or pin is for, tell them that too many Texas kids are going to bed with bruises, with hunger pangs and with a sickening fear of what the next day will bring. Tell them that is unacceptable and that you are working to create a world where all children get tucked in safe and snug every night.

For more information on National Child Abuse Prevention Month, contact Sen. Uresti's San Antonio district office at 210 932-2568 or go to: http://www.childwelfare.gov/preventing/preventionmonth/ and www.blueribbontaskforce.com. To order a ribbon or pin go to: www.blueribbonsonline.org