Incidents of child abuse and neglect remain high in the Pikes Peak region. El Paso and Teller counties combined received over 13,000 reports of child abuse and neglect for several years in a row.
In recognition of April’s Child Abuse Prevention Month, CASA is working to bring awareness to this critical issue. Every citizen has a stake in the well-being of our children. During the month of April and beyond our hope here at CASA is that our citizens will stand up against abuse by volunteering or donating.
Other Ways to Get Involved
- Support families in crisis: As a community we can all help prevent child abuse by offering support to families in crisis. Something as simple as offering to babysit your neighbor’s children may help — anything that will give a stressed parent a break.
- Look for warning signs of abuse: The earlier child abuse is caught, the better the chance of recovery and appropriate treatment for the child. Child abuse is not always obvious. By learning some of the common warning signs of child abuse and neglect, you can catch the problem as early as possible and get both the child and the abuser the help that they need. A common myth is that an act against the child has to be violent to be considered abuse. Emotional abuse can severely damage a child’s mental health or social development, leaving lifelong psychological scars.
- Report Abuse: Many people are reluctant to get involved in other families’ lives, but we all can and should report suspected child abuse or neglect. If you think a child is being mistreated, take immediate action. Report child abuse or neglect in El Paso County by calling the 24-hour hotline: 444-5700; In Teller County call: 686-5550.
- Be the One Colorado: Each year, over 61,000 babies are born in Colorado. Join us in making the pledge to help each of those children grow and develop into happy and healthy adults.
Important Local Resources for Parents
KPC Kids’ Place Respite Nursery
KPC Kids’ Place offers free crisis and planned respite childcare for young children ages 0-6. The highly qualified staff members provide a safe and nurturing atmosphere for children at risk of abuse or neglect while offering parents in stressful situations a much-needed respite opportunity. Caregivers who love their children enough to ask for help can get up to 72 hours of relief during difficult times. Family advocacy and community referrals are offered to all caregivers who use KPC Kids’ Place. The crisis line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (719) 634-5439.
Nurturing Parenting Program
Provides parents with effective behavior management tools and encourage the development of healthy parent-child relationships. These family-centered classes are designed to strengthen families through education in empathy and caring, responsibility and discipline, and family growth. The Nurturing Parenting Programs are dynamic and exciting, and are proven to build caring, non-violent families. One of the exciting aspects of the Nurturing Parenting Program classes is that the children are learning their own skills while parents focus on parenting styles. Families then come together to practice what they have learned.
Center on Fathering
The Center provides a program which teaches dads to be more actively and positively involved in their child’s development. They also have a program called Conflict-Resolution for Dads which gives dads a unique, father-oriented way to deal with conflict in their lives.
Video: Shaken Baby Syndrome Prevention
As part of Memorial Hospital for Children’s shaken baby syndrome prevention program, this Crying Baby Plan video is shown to every mother who has a baby at Memorial Health System, Colorado Springs, CO.
Video: Parenting is Hard, Help Is Available
This video explains the resources available to parents in El Paso County and how the community as a whole can reach out to parents. It was produced by the El Paso County Department of Human Services through the Not One More Child Coalition. Closed captioning and the packaging of DVD copies of this video were paid for by Colorado Springs Utilities.
Six Protective Factors:
Protective factors are conditions in families and communities that, when present, increase the health and well-being of children and families. They are attributes that serve as buffers, helping parents who might otherwise be at risk of abusing their children to find resources, supports, or coping strategies that allow them to parent effectively, even under stress. Research has shown that these protective factors are linked to a lower incidence of child abuse and neglect.
Warning Signs of Emotional Abuse:
- Excessively withdrawn, fearful, or anxious about doing something wrong.
- Shows extremes in behavior (extremely compliant or extremely demanding; extremely passive or extremely aggressive).
- Doesn’t seem to be attached to the parent or caregiver.
- Acts either inappropriately adult (taking care of other children) or inappropriately infantile (rocking, thumb-sucking, tantruming).
Warning signs of physical abuse:
- Frequent injuries or unexplained bruises, welts, or cuts.
- Is always watchful and “on alert,” as if waiting for something bad to happen.
- Injuries appear to have a pattern such as marks from a hand or belt.
- Shies away from touch, flinches at sudden movements, or seems afraid to go home.
- Wears inappropriate clothing to cover up injuries, such as long-sleeved shirts on hot days.
Warning signs of neglect:
- Clothes are ill-fitting, filthy, or inappropriate for the weather.
- Hygiene is consistently bad (unbathed, matted and unwashed hair, noticeable body odor).
- Untreated illnesses and physical injuries.
- Is frequently unsupervised or left alone or allowed to play in unsafe situations and environments.
- Is frequently late or missing from school.
Warning signs of sexual abuse:
- Trouble walking or sitting.
- Displays knowledge or interest in sexual acts inappropriate to his or her age, or even seductive behavior.
- Makes strong efforts to avoid a specific person, without an obvious reason.
- Doesn’t want to change clothes in front of others or participate in physical activities.
- An STD or pregnancy, especially under the age of 14.
- Runs away from home.