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April is Child Abuse and Neglect Awareness Month

April 24, 2013
Two brothers hugging

Georgia's Department of Human Services' Division of Family and Children Services receives a report of child abuse every 15 minutes. Understanding the prevalence of child abuse and its prevention are important steps to decreasing child abuse in our communities and across the state.

To increase public awareness of this issue, Governor Nathan Deal has proclaimed April "Child Abuse and Neglect Awareness Month."

Child maltreatment includes all types of abuse and neglect by a parent, caregiver or another person in a custodial role. While we see some cases of abuse or neglect in the news, many cases go unreported.

Abused children experience more than just physical injuries. According to the CDC, maltreatment causes stress that can harm the development of the nervous and immune systems, which puts maltreated children at higher risk for health problems as adults.

In Georgia, the Department of Human Services provides support to families and helps ensure that risk of abuse remains low, particularly in cases of social and financial stress within a household. The Department of Community Health is also taking policy steps to help prevent and treat children who are victims of abuse or neglect, and the Governor's Office of Children and Families and many other organizations collaborate to support Prevent Child Abuse Georgia.

If you believe a child is being abused or neglected, please contact your local DFCS office. To make a report of child abuse after hours (between 5 p.m. and 8:30 a.m.) or on weekends/holidays, call 1-855-GACHILD. If you believe a child is in immediate danger, call 911 immediately.

About the Author

Sunita Kapahi writes about education, public safety, social services and transportation for GeorgiaGov. She is an Atlanta native and a graduate of Georgia State University.

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