Rep. Arnold: Preventing child abuse

Posted by: Peter Hoffman  | Friday, April 22, 2016

The Department of Child Services (DCS) recognizes April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month. All year, we should be working together to ensure every child in our community grows up to reach their full potential, but April is a special time to review and implement proven preventative measures.

DCS outlines several ways we can prevent abuse and neglect, which affects children of all ages, genders, races and income levels.

  • Reach out to parents that you know and offer a hand or emotional support;
  • Volunteer time to programs that help parents;
  • Let all of the children in your life know that they can depend on you;
  • Report suspected child abuse or neglect; and
  • Consider becoming a foster parent.

Visit www.in.gov/dcs for more information on how you can help prevent child abuse and neglect.

In the 2016 legislative session, lawmakers took steps to help protect children from abuse by passing Kirk’s Law. Starting in July, Indiana will become the first state in the nation to maintain a child abuse registry to track anyone who has been convicted in Indiana of child neglect, or physical or sexual abuse of a child. The inspiration for this registry stemmed from a Hoosier child, Kirk Coleman, who died while under the care of a woman who had been previously convicted of child abuse. Passing this law will help prevent loved ones from unknowingly placing children in harmful situations and, hopefully, avoid future tragedies.

Another law passed this session, Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 305, will allow DCS to intervene and serve children who are victims of human trafficking. It was an honor to also support a new law increasing penalties for criminals convicted of child exploitation and pornography crimes.

If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, call Indiana’s Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 800-800-5556. This line is available and open at all times. Indiana law requires any individual who has a reason to believe a child is a victim of abuse or neglect to make a report, which is anonymous.

Please contact me with questions or input at 317-232-9793 or by email at h74@iga.in.gov. You can also learn more about the work being done on your behalf by signing up to receive my email updates at www.in.gov/h74.

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Rep. Arnold (R-Leavenworth) represents portions of Spencer, Dubois, Perry, Crawford and Orange counties.