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April 13, 2012
TOPEKA Kansas First Lady Mary Brownback delivered brief remarks on child abuse prevention today to about 50 advocates, agency workers and members of the public. The event was part of National Child Abuse Prevention Month activities.
Brownback said that in Kansas there have been nearly 13,000 substantiated cases of child abuse since July 2011.
"A child's developing brain is especially vulnerable to the toxic stress that abuse and neglect can bring. That stress affects their behavior and cripples their ability to learn," Brownback said.
Abuse and neglect have also been shown to increase the likelihood of chronic health problems later in life, she said.
"Nationwide estimates predict that awareness and effective policies against child abuse could save taxpayers more than $104 billion a year."
Brownback said that among the prevention efforts underway in Kansas were parent education, mentoring, mental health services, sexual abuse prevention, substance abuse prevention, and home visits by workers from the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services.
"One of the most important ways to prevent child abuse is for you to keep your eyes open. If you see a child who could be a victim of abuse or neglect, please call your local SRS office. One call could be the difference between life or death for that child," Brownback said.
According to SRS officials, signs of child abuse and neglect include:
• sudden changes in behavior or school performance;
• untreated medical problems of which the parent is aware;
• a child who is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen;
• a child who lacks adult supervision;
• a child who is overly compliant, passive or withdrawn;
• a child who comes to school or other activities early, stays late, and does not want to go home.
If you suspect abuse or neglect, call 1-800-922-5330.
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