Today we are partnering with Childhelp to share a post written by Deborah Pshebniski, Char Hubble and Erika Monroe-Williams. These women are moms themselves and spend time working on various events in Arizona to raise funding for great causes. Today, we are hoping to raise awareness about a topic that needs our attention and our support. This isn’t light reading, but it is important reading, and we hope that you, our readers and moms, will take this as seriously as we do. We would love to draw attention to this issue in hopes of offering any support possible.
In our nation, five children die each day from abuse and neglect. Children shouldn’t experience abuse and neglect, let alone die from such cruelty. Yet, the issue sits in front of us with reports of child abuse coming in every 10 seconds and nearly 3.3 million incidents of child abuse being reported annually. Unfortunately, these numbers only scratch the surface. Throughout the United States, reports of abuse often go unchecked because an abused child, or someone who witnesses or suspects abuse, suffer long wait times when they call a hotline to get help. There simply aren’t enough case workers to process all of the reports of abuse. Children out there need our help before it is too late. Something must be done to ensure their safety.
The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline, 1-800-4-A-CHILD, is dedicated to the prevention of child abuse. The Hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week with professional crisis counselors who can provide assistance in more than 200 languages. Serving the U.S. and Canada, these dedicated counselors offer confidential crisis intervention, information, literature, and referrals. However, this life-saving resource currently faces a wait time of seven minutes because it remains severely underfunded. The hotline does not have any major sponsors nor does it receive federal funding. It is all managed from Childhelp’s operating budget and donations.
Since it began in 1982, the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline has received more than two million calls. Through October of 2015 alone, the hotline has received 86,866 calls. It is also during the winter holidays that the Hotline answers more intensive and involved calls. The stress of the holidays tends to add to existing issues and pressures, which can push parents and families to the edge. It is also important to note that this is the time of year where many calls are placed from families who do not see each other all year long but do during the holidays and witness concerns about a child. Last holiday season, from November 1, 2014 to January 31, 2015, the Hotline responded to 23,888 calls. The question still remains—how many more victims of abuse could have been helped if he or she didn’t have to wait several minutes or if there were enough resources to investigate at a quicker pace?
These are questions that can only be answered through funding at the national, state and local levels. Funding can satisfy the dire need for more certified professionals to be able to answer more victims’ calls and decrease the overall wait time. Even further, funding is critical at the state and local levels for investigations into reports of abuse and neglect. Without this critical funding, children will continue to be abused and neglected, and it is everyone’s responsibility to see that this epidemic ends.
We want to see programs and services like the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline continue and succeed in saving children’s lives, which is why we decided to become the co-chairs of the 12th Annual Childhelp Drive the Dream Gala. Childhelp is the nation’s oldest and largest non-profit advocating for abused and neglected children and through the gala we are able to raise money to benefit their programs and services in Arizona, including the Hotline. There are many other ways of helping at-risk children. Please visit childhelp.org to see how you can help.
Deb, Char, and Erika are co-chairing this year’s Childhelp’s Drive the Dream Gala. Please visit their Facebook page for updates and further information about the event.