TOPEKA – During the last fiscal year, more than 65,000 reports of child abuse and/or neglect were made in Kansas. Nearly 20 percent (12,989) of those came from Sedgwick County, more than 10 percent (6,915) in Wyandotte County, and almost 9 percent (5,774) in Shawnee County.
Governor Sam Brownback has declared April as Child Abuse Prevention Month in Kansas. A proclamation was signed on March 27, to make that designation (photo below). He was joined by Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) Secretary Phyllis Gilmore and representatives of partner organizations including, the Kansas Children’s Service League, KVC and St. Francis.
“No child should have to live in fear,” Secretary Gilmore said. “Each of us has the responsibility of reporting suspected abuse or neglect.”
April 10 has been designated by national organizations as Wear Blue Day, when all Kansans are encouraged to wear blue clothing as a reminder that abuse should not go unnoticed.
On April 16, the Governor, Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Secretary Gilmore will participate in a “Pinwheels for Prevention” event at the Kansas State Capitol Building. They and others will speak on the issue of child abuse and join Topeka-area children who will plant pinwheels in a flower garden on the north side of the Statehouse. The Pinwheels for Prevention campaign is an effort to change the way our nation thinks about prevention and how we can deliver on our commitment to Kansas children. The pinwheel serves as an uplifting reminder of childhood and the bright futures all children deserve.
For a list of other events in Kansas highlighting child abuse prevention, go to www.kcsl.org/cap_events.aspx
. Gilmore says such events bring attention to a problem that DCF and its partners are working hard to prevent.
“We need to connect with our communities and other families so that when we are struggling to cope, we know we’re not alone,” Secretary Gilmore said. “DCF offers many services to support families in crisis so children can stay in their home, as long as that is a safe option.”
During the last decade, the Kansas has seen a 48 percent increase in the number of reports alleging child abuse or neglect.
“While that demonstrates that child abuse is still a serious issue in our communities, it also demonstrates that we as a state are doing a better job raising awareness and protecting children from further abuse,” Secretary Gilmore said.
DCF investigations into these cases include abandonment, emotional abuse, lack of supervision, medical neglect, physical abuse, physical neglect and sex abuse.
Some indicators of child abuse include:
- Sudden changes in a child’s behavior or school performance
- A child with untreated medical problems
- A child who is overly compliant, passive or withdrawn
Suspected child abuse and neglect can be reported by calling the Kansas Protection Center at 1-800-922-5330.
(left to right: Jaime Rogers, DCF Interim Deputy Secretary of Family Services; Christie Bauerle, DCF Kansas Protection Report Center; Phyllis Gilmore, DCF Secretary; Susan Gile, DCF Program Administrator for Assessment and Prevention; Governor Sam Brownback; Jim McHenry, Kansas Children’s Service League Foundation Trustee; Chad Anderson, KVC President; Rebecca Steketee, St. Francis Resource Specialist; and Amanda Peters, St. Francis Resource Supervisor)