Child Abuse: The Quest To Save Montana's Neglected Kids
A total of 14 children from the state of Montana died due to neglect or abuse from 2015-2016. The cases of 12 of these children have been reported to the state's Child and Family Services Division (CFSD) prior to their deaths.
Up to 35,226 cases of neglect or child abuse involving 13,307 kids have been reported to the CFSD during the first semester last year. This is equivalent to around 100 calls of reported child abuse being received by the Child Abuse Hotline of Montana every day, according to Billings Gazette.
Child abuse can come in the form of physical, emotional or sexual abuse. A child is neglected when he is deprived of the basic necessities such as education, shelter, clothing and medical care.
Montana's legislature should act quickly given the tragic deaths and the number of cases of child neglect and abuse. Aside from providing funding for services under child protection, lawmakers should also consider Rep. Kathy Kelker's proposal to create a Commission on Child Abuse and Neglect under House Bill 303.
The number of children placed in foster care has increased by 20 percent compared to data during the past two years, as per Bismarck Tribune. CFSD employees are all stressed out given the number of cases in their hands. Faced with lack of fund to hire additional people, it made use of its emergency funds to get the services of 13 caseworkers for frontline operations.
Kelker shared the story of a girl under the child abuse program who kept on eating sand knowing that it will make her sick and ultimately die, according to Missoula Current. Investigation showed that the girl was extremely neglected and abused.
Anyone can help a neglected or abused child by reporting the case to the Child Abuse Hotline. The 911 number is always available for emergency services. Children who are subjected to neglect or abuse should not keep this secret and are urged to tell a teacher or a trusted friend or family member.