It Takes a Community to Raise a Child
Between the ages of 0 and 18, children grow, thrive, and develop. Their success depends on many factors both inside and outside the home. They are influenced by family, friends, school, organizations, and community.
Sometimes, the child and family have problems that require formal intervention. Child Protective Services is the formal intervention when there is a report that a child has been abused or neglected. There are many other agencies and individuals that work with Child Protective Services in the protection of children.
Pinwheels for Prevention
Annually since 2007, Hancock County has participated in the Pinwheels for Prevention Campaign. The Pinwheels are “planted” on the Courthouse Lawn during April which is Child Abuse Prevention Month. The Pinwheels are a visual reminder that Child Abuse and Neglect Occur in Hancock County.
Hancock County Children Protective Services Mission:
To assure the children of Hancock County greater protection from abuse and neglect, preserving families whenever possible. This will be accomplished utilizing available resources and working with the community to eliminate service gaps.
Services are provided to all Hancock County families in need regardless of income, race, religion, social status, sex or handicap.
What is Abuse?
Child Abuse is defined as an action against a child,an act of commission. The three types of abuse are: physical, sexual, and emotional/verbal.
Physical Abuse: A non-accidental injury involving a child as a result of excessive discipline or inappropriate behaviors of a parent including kicking, punching, burning, biting, shaking, or throwing.
Excessive Discipline: Discipline that results in physical injury that is inconsistent and inappropriate to the age of the child. Also, the caretaker normally loses control during discipline and the punishment is due to unreasonable expectations or demands and is not designed to educate but instill fear in the child.
Sexual Abuse: The inappropriate use of using a child for sexual gratification. This abuse does not only include sexual intercourse, but can also pertain to the fondling of the child or making the child touch an adult’s genitals. Also, the use of children in pornographic films or as prostitution is considered sexual abuse.
Emotional/Verbal Abuse: This is the hardest type of abuse to define and prove. It includes the lack of praise, nurture, love, and security from a parent or guardian. Usually, emotional abuse occurs with another type of abuse or neglect.
What is Neglect?
Neglect can be defined as a failure to act on a child\rquote s behalf. There are three categories: physical, emotional, and educational.
Physical Neglect: Failure to meet the basic requirements of a child including supervision, housing, proper nutrition, and medical treatment.
Emotional Neglect: Failure to provide support and appropriate attention that is necessary for the child’s development both psychologically and socially.
What is Dependency?
Dependency can be defined as the lack of appropriate parenting and nurturing at no fault of the parent or guardian. This includes children who are homeless or destitute. Also, a child can be dependent because of a parent who has mental or physical condition that prevents them from caring for the child.
What does child abuse look like?
A child who has been abused can have physical bruises or marks. But usually, the signs of abuse are not as clear-cut. Other signs of abuse include reluctance to change clothes in front of others, unexplained absences to either school or other activities, alienated from peers, acts hyper or has excessive behavior, complains of pain or injury without any explainable cause, acts out sexually, and has medical needs that are not treated.
Who are Mandated Reporters?
Mandated reporters are any person required by law to report suspected child abuse and neglect.
These Persons Include:
- Attorneys / Lawyers
- Doctors / Hospital Staff
- Daycare Professionals
- Counselors / Social Workers
- School Employees
Mandated reporters who fail to report suspected abuse or neglect, can face a possible misdemeanor of the fourth degree criminal charge and civil damages
To make a report, Monday through Friday between 8 and 4:30, call 419-424-7022 and ask for a children services intake worker. For after hours emergencies, call 419-422-2424 ask for a Children Services Worker to be paged.
How Can you help?
- Report any suspected abuse or neglect
- Learn nurturing and positive ways to raise your child and influence the children around you
- Become a Foster or Adoptive Parent
- Volunteer in an organization dedicated to children and teens
If you need More Information about child abuse and neglect, try these sites