We all have a role to play in protecting children
By Liz Cox
When the horrors of child maltreatment, torture, sexual abuse, or starvation strike our community, we tend to quickly look for someone to blame. The recent deaths of two 16-year-old girls in Central Iowa, Natalie Finn and Sabrina Ray, underscore the value each of us has in weaving a safety net that strengthens families and protects Iowa kids.
We all have a role to play in the development of our children. This includes becoming involved in situations where children’s well-being is or can be jeopardized. Our responsibility cannot be outsourced to a single agency or department, and we must hold those who victimize our children accountable.
Fifty-six percent of adults in Iowa report experiencing some type of abuse or household dysfunction growing up according to Iowa’s 2016 Adverse Childhood Experiences data.
The traumas of neglect, physical, sexual or emotional abuse, domestic violence or substance abuse in the home during childhood have lifelong impact on the victim. The removal of a child from a parent is also traumatic, no matter the circumstances. Prioritizing prevention in our policies and funding — at the state, federal and local level — can help break the intergenerational cycle of abuse.