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April is recognized as National Child Abuse Awareness month. The question might be asked what child abuse has to do with a group like Champions for a Drug Free Carroll County.
Every day in the United States, five children die as a result of child abuse, most of which are under the age of 4. Alcohol and substance abuse are the leading cause of child abuse.
In fact, 40 percent of all child abuse cases involve substance abuse. In a recent study 2/3 of people receiving treatment for substance abuse report that they were abused or neglected as a child.
Children who experience child abuse and neglect are 59 percent more likely to be arrested as a juvenile, 28 percent more likely to be arrested as an adult and 30 percent more likely to commit a violent crime.
Children who have been sexually abused are 2.5 times more likely to develop alcohol abuse and 3.8 times more likely to develop a drug addiction. Finally, abused children are 25 percent more likely to experience teen pregnancy.
In 2011, there were 241 reports of potential child abuse in Carroll County. This does not mean there were 241 cases, but it does mean that there were that many instances in which someone believed that it needed to be checked into.
Seldom does a day pass when you pick up the paper, read the Internet or watch the evening news that you do not hear about a case of child abuse.
Just recently, the FBI updated its most wanted list and the man that has taken Osama Bin Laden’s place as America’s Most Wanted is a man that is charged with multiple counts of child abuse including children’s pornography.
Children are the future of our country. If we are going to have a county that is drug free in the future, we must invest in the lives of youth now. Much like substance abuse and alcoholism, child abuse is a generational problem. Children are like a sponge, they soak up everything they see and hear. Like that sponge, when they are older, what they have soaked up will be what comes out of them. A child that is abused is more likely to abuse a child when they grow older.
Champions for a Drug Free Carroll County, along with key community partners including the Lighthouse 21st Century Learning Center, the Youth Services Center, Family Ties and First National Bank will host a child-abuse awareness event from 5-7:30 p.m. Friday, April 20, on the Carroll County Courthouse lawn in downtown Carrollton.
The event will be similar to one that was done two years ago. There will be free food, inflatables for the youth, a magic show, entertainment and music, along with a speaker at 7 p.m.
Following the speaker there will be a balloon release of 241 balloons signifying each potential case in Carroll County from 2011. Door prizes and gifts include a picnic table, Walmart gift cards, gift cards to local restaurants, Louisville Zoo tickets, and much more. You must be present to win.
Everyone is invited to come and help raise awareness about the dangers of child abuse.
Matt Lipe is coordinator of Champions for a Drug Free Carroll County.