Strengthen laws on child abuse
Articles and editorials about child abuse in our schools concluded not enough has been done in grades K-12 to keep children safe from predatory adults. We should strengthen the law.
How disturbing that teachers and adults working in schools see no reason to report what they suspect to protect their vulnerable charges. Those across our county who engaged in covering up suspected abuses should be fired or recalled.
Anyone can report suspected child abuse. That includes parents whose child comes to them to say, "The teacher scares me," who see a radical change in behavior, or a child who suddenly is reluctant or afraid to go to school.
Listen to your children, especially very young children of ages 5 or 6, or those entering a new school. You know your child best and you must protect your child.
Anyone can call Child Protective Services to report suspected abuse. It is not a conviction. It is the responsibility of CPS to investigate the report and then the law should act to protect the child.
Get abusers out of the classrooms
We thank Daniel Borenstein for his Feb. 23 column, "Training is a must as cases of suspected child abuse continue." He highlights a flaw in our system: Failure to report suspected child abuse allows child abusers to remain in the classroom for months or years.
In 2013, the Child Abuse Prevention Council of Contra Costa County provided free training to more than 5,000 mandated reporters. We have requests that will double that number in 2014.
We can protect our children if we all get involved. Educators and others working with children must follow the law by reporting suspected abuse. Parents must remain vigilant to the behavior signs of possible abuse. And our communities must be mobilized for prevention.
The Greater Bay Area Child Abuse Prevention Council Coalition has a campaign to end child sexual abuse in our region's 10 counties. Each county network is conducting free trainings on how to recognize, prevent and intervene in child sexual abuse.
Through this, we will stand up and say "Enough!" to child sexual abuse. Please join us: 855-444-EAGB or www.enoughabuse.org.
Director, Child Abuse Prevention Council of Contra Costa County Concord