TALLAHASSEE, FL -- Since 1983, the President of the United states has issued a proclamation that designates April as National Child Abuse Awareness Month. Throughout April and all year long, the Florida Coalition for Children (FCC) is committed to spreading awareness of child abuse factors, how to spot abuse in your community and ways you can find help for those being abused or neglected.
“This is an important month for our community,” said FCC CEO Kurt Kelly. “Every year thousands of children come into our care who have been abused and neglected, but thanks to those in their lives who detected the abuse and took action they are no longer vulnerable to their abusers. As advocates for the community-based care system, we are committed to both preventing abuse and intervening to protect children when it occurs."
Below are some facts on Florida’s child welfare system and the children who come into its care after being abused, abandoned and neglected.
- Currently there are over 22,000 children in the community- based care system who have been victims of abuse, abandonment and/or neglect.
- Community-based care lead and provider agencies serve over 40,000 children throughout Florida each year.
- Services provided to families by these agencies include: health, mental health, education, training, substance abuse services, domestic violence services, and supplementary support services. CBC lead and provider agencies also provide placement services and case management services to those who have been removed from their homes.
- Between FY 2012-13 and FY 2015-16 the state saw an increase in the total number of children in children in out-of-home care, from 13,204 to 15,941, raising the number of children in out-of-home care to their highest levels since 2008.
“Our goal throughout this month is to educate our communities on what child abuse looks like and how you can prevent it, as well as the services available to families in need,” said FCC Board Chair Shawn Salamida, Director of FamiliesFirst Network of Lakeview. “The key to abuse prevention is a community focus on building strong families where children are not only safe but thrive.”
More information on child abuse and prevention can be found by visiting Prevent Child Abuse America (http://preventchildabuse.org/), the Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida (https://www.ounce.org/). Or if you suspect child abuse, you can report it by calling the Department of Children and Families’ Florida Abuse Hotline at 1-800-962-2873 or going online to https://reportabuse.dcf.state.fl.us/.