April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. This should be something that's year round. One virtually hidden problem that affects the health of our kids is neglect. Child abuse as heinous as it is can be spotted by broken bones, swelling bruises and the news of tragic deaths. Neglect is more hidden and not so easily spotted.
On average child neglect is 80% of the problem with child abuse. Neglect is defined as an action or inaction of a parent. There are symptoms to spot in an at risk family. It can be children who are continually wearing the same clothes, smelly, dirty and bad hygiene. Neglect according to the experts can also be an injurious environment. Neglect could also include kids being lef home alone or not being taken on a regular basis to the doctor or dentist.
Karen Logan with the El Paso County Department of Human Services tells me it can also be the condition of the home, itself. She says," I had a child where the home was so bad, the mother indicated the child had some disability and couldn't walk yet. It was the condition of the house. We removed the child from that home. The child learned how to walk within a week."
Logan says the home could be filled with trash, walking areas too clogged for kids or adults to walk in or just terribly dirty conditions. Logan and her team get about a dozen calls a week about suspected kid neglect.
There is a myriad of reasons why a parent may be linked to child neglect, but whatever the cause, there is free help. Here is a number to call if you see or believe you need help to stop child neglect at your home. It's a 24 hour hotline number. It's 719-444-5700. I've also put a link to the El Paso County Department of Human services so you can read more about child neglect and the help you can get. Go back to our front page and go under links we mentioned.