Local leaders gather to address child abuse prevention
POSTED: Thursday, September 19, 2013 - 2:38pm
UPDATED: Friday, September 20, 2013 - 7:31am
EL PASO (KTSM) — Child abuse and neglect continues to be a big problem in our region, according to Child Help Foundation every year more than 3 million reports of child abuse involving more than 6 million children are made in the United States and El Paso is not the exception.
Child protective services investigated more than 4300 cases from September 2012 to August 2013.
"We're in court almost every day and so we get new cases I would say on a weekly basis, so those are new cases that require legal intervention so we're either removing the children from their parents' home or we are having the court issue an order to force the parent to comply with services that we feel are necessary” Assistant County Attorney Tracy Almanzan said.
But abuse and neglect are not the only problem; Dr. Ira Chaznov who is President of the Children’s Research Triangle says child care needs to start even before a baby is born.
"If the mother uses any alcohol, any tobacco, any kind of drug including marijuana it causes changes in the brain of the developing child in the whom so that translates into mental retardation significant learning problems and most especially difficult behavior problems" Chasnoff said.
For Al Velarde with El Paso child crisis center, education and information is vital to provide appropriate care and relief to abused children.
"We need to have the tools to be able to address the needs of these children but we also have to make sure that we have the understanding of the law the legal aspects and how we're going to move forward" Velarde said.
Conference organizers say that message applies not only to parents, but to all.
"it's everybody's problem whether you have children or not because you're a member of our society a member of this community is also your problem, these kids will be our future these kids will be the fathers and the mothers of tomorrow" 65th Judicial District’s Judge Oscar Gabaldon added.
To report any suspected cases of child abuse you can call the hotline at 1-800-422-4453.
Child Protective Services El Paso- (915) 546-2050