CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) Kane County seeks to raise awareness about the distressing reality of over 600 children who are presently in care and have suffered abuse and neglect in Kane County. As April marks Child Abuse Prevention Month, CASA’s objective is to support children who by no fault of their own have been neglected and abused. In addition to bringing awareness to this mission CASA strives to put an end to future instances of child abuse and neglect. We are committed to ensuring that every child has a secure and supportive environment to develop and call their own home. As the future generation it is crucial to protect them from any and all forms of harm including mental, emotional, and physical abuse.
Child abuse and neglect are forms of mistreatment that can harm a child’s physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Physical abuse refers to non-accidental injuries such as hitting, punching, burning, shaking, or any action that causes physical harm to a child. Emotional abuse involves maltreatment of a child, including criticizing, insulting, yelling, swearing, manipulating, rejecting, or withholding love. Sexual abuse involves any sexual activity with a child, including exhibitionism, photographs, videos, pornography, prostitution, or rape. Neglect refers to a failure to provide for a child’s basic physical, emotional, medical, or educational needs.
Child abuse can occur anywhere children live, sleep, learn, or play. Disturbingly, the abuser is often someone the child knows. This could be as a parent, relative, neighbor, friend of the family, or trusted adult like a teacher, mentor, or coach.
What are some signs of Child Abuse that can be detected?
Possible signs of physical abuse include unexplained burns, bruises, black eyes, injuries that don’t match the explanation, or fear of a parent or caretaker. Possible signs of emotional abuse include nervousness around adults, reluctance to go home, passivity, aggression, nightmares, fear, anxiety, or sudden changes in behavior or school performance. Possible signs of sexual abuse include difficulty walking or sitting, running away from home, and sexual knowledge or behavior beyond what is normal for the child’s age. Possible signs of neglect include frequently missing school, begging for or stealing food or money, lacking needed medical or dental care, being frequently dirty, using alcohol or other drugs, or saying there is no one at home to take care of him or her.
Many of these signs may also be present in children exposed to violence in their homes and communities, such as domestic violence and gang violence. These signs don’t prove that a child is being abused, but they could be a signal that the child and his or her family may need help.
Put an end to Child Abuse
Child abuse is everyone’s business. Please pay attention to the treatment of children around you. If you see something, say something, if you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, report it! In the United States, close to three million reports of suspected abuse are filed each year, but many more cases may never get reported. In Kane County there were 613 children in care in 2022. The affected children suffer immediate injuries but the long-lasting effects of abuse can lead to future emotional, social and development issues.
CASA Kane County is issuing a call to action for community residents to stand against child abuse and take action to support children and youth who have been abused or neglected and those who remain silent. Everyone can do his or her part by attending the Hands Around the Courthouse event, picking up a yard sign, calling for more volunteers, learning about becoming a CASA/GAL volunteer, donating, reviewing the Mandated Reporting Toolkit on the CASA Website and calling 1-800-25-ABUSE to make a report if abuse or neglect is suspected.
CASA Kane County is a Guardian ad Litem, nonprofit volunteer organization that has been advocating for the best interests of children within the Juvenile Court system since 1988 and relies solely on philanthropic support from individuals, corporations, grants, and special event fundraising to support its operations. To learn more, visit the organization’s website at www.casakanecounty.org or call 630-232-4484.