Options available to prevent child abuse

WICHITA, Kansas — A baby left alone inside a closet gives us a glimpse into how widespread abuse really is. Advocates say last year 1600 kids were abused in Sedgwick County.

This case brings attention to the growing need for family services, including child abuse prevention and how to help abused and neglected kids move on from traumatic experiences.

Services are available and child abuse advocates say the hardest part for parents is admitting they are overwhelmed and reaching out for help.

Melanie Miller Garrett with the Wichita Children’s Home says about 2,000 kids get services here each year.

“It’s OK to feel overwhelmed, it’s OK to struggle all parents do that, there are people out there to help,” Miller Garrett said.

One of the options available to help prevent child abuse is right here at the Kansas Children’s Service. This room is used as a classroom to host parenting classes throughout the year and the classes are offered to parents of kids of all ages.

Vicky Roper is the director of Prevent Childhood Abuse Kansas. “A lot of parents especially in this down economy– community services and resources are going away and they are struggling to access services and find out how to navigate the community resources,” Roper said.

Services include the help line 1-800-CHILDREN. There is also the United Way and others. But experts say sometimes the easiest way to get help is by reaching out to relatives, friends and neighbors.

Abuse advocates say a majority of the children taken from their homes are ultimately reunited with their parents because of a large demand for foster homes and thousands of kids in the system. The goal in most cases is to keep the families together.

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