By Candace Hewitt, This Week in the Pentagon Producer
About a month ago on my way to work I was listening to a story on the radio about a Virginia couple, arrested for alleged child abuse. The parents were being accused of nailing drywall over a doorway to keep their three children inside a bedroom. The kids’ ages were four, two, and two-months old. The four-year-old managed to eventually escape and go to a neighbor’s house for help. The kids were each found naked, and covered in urine and feces.
Apparently this was not the first offense for this couple. A few years before the incident, the mother was charged with felony child neglect after her twin, 22 month-old boys were found walking alone down a country road.
We all want to believe this is and an isolated case. But according to child abuse and neglect officials, it’s not. Not even close. It’s just a case we were fortunate to hear about – thanks to the resourcefulness of a four-year-old child. According to Health and Human Services, the most recent statistics on record show more than 1,700 children in the United States in 2009 died from abuse and neglect. Of those deaths – 80% were kids younger than four-years-old. And 80% of those doing the abuse – the parent, or parents of that child.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. It’s also Month of the Military Child. Although cases of child abuse and neglect within the military community are lower than in the civilian population, mistreatment still happens. Abuse is more than just bruises and broken bones. It may mean emotional abuse and neglect, which can leave scars just as deep. This month, take advantage of this awareness campaign and do something to make a difference in a child’s life. There are 1.8 million military kids out there… who potentially stand to benefit.
The above is a clip of some raw footage from this week’s show. As part of Child Abuse Prevention Month, military children at the Camp Walker, Korea Child Development Center were fingerprinted at a child safety event. Fingerprint booklets were made for each child to be kept on file in case of an emergency.
For more on Child Abuse Prevention Month watch the April 15th edition of “This Week in the Pentagon” airing at 1800ET.