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Child Abuse Prevention Month: Stay Alert

April 30, 2015
Boy with head bowed between his knees

Each spring, the nation focuses on ways to prevent child abuse. President Obama proclaimed April as Child Abuse Prevention Month for the nation and Governor Deal proclaimed April as Child Abuse Prevention Month in Georgia.

As the month ends, let’s not let these efforts fade. Instead, let’s continue to work to keep our children safe. “While children are our most valuable resource, they are also our most vulnerable,” as Governor Deal’s proclamation states.

What is classified as child abuse?

Physical, mental and sexual acts can be considered child abuse in Georgia. This means bruises, welts, fractures and even internal injuries implemented on children under 18 by an adult. Child abuse can also be reported if an adult neglects the child in any way by not properly supervising, feeding, clothing or sheltering a child.

Child Abuse Signs and Signals

It can be tricky to recognize child abuse. Some signs can be obvious while others are a bit more subtle. Use your best judgment, but here are a few typical signs:

  • Abrupt change in behavior
  • Sudden change in school performance
  • Physical marks (repeatedly)
  • Untreated medical issues

Reporting Child Abuse

The Georgia Department of Human Services' Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) handles child abuse cases. If you suspect child abuse, please call 1-855-GACHILD (1-855-422-4453). This is a 24/7 hotline available every day of the year. If it’s an immediate emergency that needs instant attention, call 911. The police and DFCS work closely with each other in child abuse cases. In fact, DFCS workers are required by law to notify the police with any child abuse claims they receive.

After your call is received, an intake worker from DFCS will take the lead in determining the criteria of the abuse, such as:

  • Severity of the report
  • Child’s age
  • Family’s history with DFCS

Then they will work to get the child the best care possible.

Child abuse prevention and eradication requires effort year round. Just because April is over, doesn’t mean we need to let our guard down. To learn more about how to prevent child abuse and neglect after April ends, here are a few resources that can help:

About the Author

Bethany McDaniel is the Interactive Web Content Manager for GeorgiaGov. She graduated from Berry College in Rome, GA with degrees in Visual Communication and History.

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