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KCSL: Child abuse is "preventable"

By Jade DeGood, jdegood@kwch.com
Published On: Jun 06 2014 09:24:37 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 09 2014 10:04:38 PM CDT
Porch Lights for Emma

Porch Lights for Emma

WICHITA, Kan. -

Thousands of people in Wichita, Kansas and across the U.S. turned on their porch lights Friday night to remember Emma Krueger.

Emma is the 3-year-old Wichita girl who died Wednesday after being taken to the hospital with bruising to her body and swelling in her brain.

Charges are expected to be filed next week against two adults accused of killing Emma. The girl's mother and her mother's boyfriend were arrested on suspicion of child abuse.

While many wonder how this could happen, statistics on child abuse show it isn't uncommon. Four kids in America are killed every day from child abuse, according to the Child Help.

In Kansas, state reports show 65,421 allegations of child abuse and neglect were made in 2013. Of those, 24,801 showed a need for further investigation on the grounds of abuse and neglect.

"We know that our numbers have been going up for reports and for cases being investigated," said Vicky Rober, the Prevent Child Abuse Kansas Director for Kansas Children's Service League (KCSL). "It gives us an opportunity to remind the community to support our young families and do what we can do to bring protective factors to their lives so that this tragedy doesn't happen to anyone else."

She said the state has seen a 14% increase in reports of child abuse, a 22% increase in cases screened in for investigation and a 31% increase in substantiations in cases.

"Our agency has taken about a 10% cut in 2013 to prevention services. So wee have fewer services and more barriers to access for those services in our community and we are seeing those abuse reports go up."

There are still many services in Sedgwick County and in Kansas to help prevent child abuse:

  • Fatherhood: Training and technical assistance to support a community model focusing on father engagement, services and support and community awareness.
  • Parent Helpline: Anonymous, statewide, free, information, referral and phone counseling services available anytime, any day to parents, relatives, caregivers and professionals. Cal 1-800-CHILDREN
  • Parents Helping Parents: Statewide network of parent, grandparent, and kinship-care support groups facilitated by trained volunteers who are parent leaders in the state
  • Period of PURPLE Crying: Prevention program offered by the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome. KCSL coordinates the effort to bring this program to communities across Kansas
  • Wichita Crisis Nursery: Short-term day care services for children of families experiencing a crisis. There is no cost to the family. Available Monday-Friday 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For more information on any of these services or other services not mentioned you can also go to the Kansas Children's Service League website here.  The Junior League of Wichita also has created a website on child abuse, you can find that here.

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