(Index-Journal) – Each April the South Carolina Department of Social Services joins the statewide leaders and local community partners such as Children’s Trust of South Carolina, the state’s affiliate organization for Prevent Child Abuse America, in acknowledgment of child abuse neglect.

From June 2015 to June 2016, there were 43,924 reports (intakes) of child abuse and neglect in South Carolina. Of those reported, approximately 25,000 child protective services cases were investigated and abuse was found in more than 10,000 of those cases.

“While the reach of child abuse and neglect in our state is heartbreaking, as it violates our collective beliefs around protecting our children and keeping our communities safe, what we do in response to reduce the risks surrounding children and families is a test of our character and commitment,” said Susan Alford, DSS State Director.

“DSS is thankful for the support of children’s services agencies, child advocates, the faith-based community, the legislature, the courts, law enforcement and others for their role in developing and strengthening the safety net for children in South Carolina. Protecting our state’s most precious citizens and preventing child abuse cannot be accomplished alone, but will only be achieved when the entire community is relentless in its advocacy on behalf of children.”

When communities come together to support children and families, everyone benefits. Fellow citizens are healthy and better educated, employees are more productive and miss less work, and the impact on the quality of life for families in these communities is profound.

Prevention programs are significantly less costly to society than fixing the lasting effects of child abuse and neglect into adulthood. Support the prevention programs at work in our communities that are helping families and children.

Child Abuse Prevention Month is a time to celebrate the good things our communities do to support stronger families and healthy children. Everyone – individuals, families and communities – must work together to prevent child abuse.

Children’s Trust and DSS encourage parents to find ways to bounce back from challenges by leaning on friends, asking for help when needed, understanding how their children grow, and helping children handle their own feelings.

Prevent Child Abuse America is focusing on three simple actions that people can take to help prevent child abuse: Mentor a child or parent, advocate for policies that support children and families, and donate to child-serving organizations.

To report abuse or neglect contact your local DSS office https://dss.sc.gov/contact or law enforcement officials. For more information on Child Abuse Prevention see www.scChildren.org/cap-month.

Due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus/COVID-19, Children's Trust is moving events to virtual platforms or postponing to a more suitable time. Please check your event listings or inquire with the appropriate staff person.
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