Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas offers this reminder about the potential for child abuse during the summer months: Teachers and other school professionals serve as an important first line of defense in the battle against child abuse. In the state of Texas, educators remain the largest professional group to report suspected child abuse and neglect.
This time of year, children eagerly prepare for summer vacation, summer camps, trips to the pool, family vacations, and also decreased amounts of adult supervision.
Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas encourages Texans to be active in child abuse prevention, through personal awareness of the signs and symptoms of child abuse, and
we ask all adults to immediately report suspicions of abuse or neglect to Child Protective Services or local law enforcement.
“Education is key to child abuse prevention. Talk to the children in your life about body safety, appropriate boundaries, and the difference between good secrets and bad secrets. Discuss internet safety and the dangers about sharing too much information on social media. Open communication allows children to feel more comfortable in asking questions and divulging information,” said Joy Rauls, executive director of Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas, Inc.
“If your child is attending a summer camp, program or summer child care,familiarize yourself with the program’s policies. Consider inquiring about the adult-to-child ratio, screening procedures for new and existing employees and visitors, and rules about one-on-one interaction.”
Be aware of the signs and symptoms of child abuse. Some children may not exhibit changes in behavior; however, common signs may include:
• Unexplained injuries
• Changes in behavior
• Regression to earlier behaviors
• Fear of going home
• Changes in eating or sleeping habits
• Lack of personal care or hygiene
• Risk-taking behaviors
• Inappropriate sexual behaviors
You can make a difference in the life of a child. If you suspect that a child may be the victim of abuse or neglect, please contact Child Protective Service’s Statewide Intake at 800-252-5400 or file a report at www.txabusehotline.org. If a child is in immediate danger, please contact 911.
The Ellis County Children’s Advocacy Center, also known as the Gingerbread House, is one of 65 CACs in the state of Texas, which leads the nation in the number of operating children’s advocacy centers. The centers service child victims of sexual and physical abuse, as well as child witnesses to violent crime.
Last year, almost 40,000 child victims received critical services at a children’s advocacy center in Texas.