When you fill out your 2008 state income tax forms in the next few weeks or months, you’ll now have the chance to contribute to child abuse and prevention efforts. The executive director of the non-profit "Prevent Child Abuse Iowa," Steve Scott, says it’s the first year for this check-off.

The Iowa check-off program generally serves four causes each year, and those that don’t draw the most funds are dropped. There was space available this year, and the legislators decided to make it possible for Iowans to contribute to child abuse prevention.Scott says they’re hoping close to 10,000 Iowans will contribute close to $100,000, based on contributions to check-offs that have done well in the past, including those for State Fair renovations and the Chickadee check-off.

Scott says the funds derived from the check-off would be directed to a State-wide program that’s been in existence since 1982.

Scott says that program provides benefits and services to 92 of Iowa’s 99 counties. That may include crisis and respite care, parental education or support, sexual abuse prevention and instruction for children and/or adults. Prevent Child Abuse Iowa is the only State-wide organization that focuses on preventing child abuse before it occurs.

Scott says a major part of their efforts since 1982, have been working with the Iowa Child Abuse Prevention program. Scott says child abuse can take many different forms, but by far most of the cases (70-percent) have to do with neglect. Scott says people don’t often know that neglect is the most common form of abuse and that physical and sexual abuse actually amounts to only 10-percent of all reported cases. He says the predominant factor resulting in neglect has to do with various forms of drug abuse in the home. Also present are issues of domestic violence and those relating to mental health.

Scott says unlike the political check-off on the State’s tax forms, Iowans can donate as much as they want to help child abuse prevention efforts, safe in the knowledge none of the funds will be used for executive salaries. Scott says he wants them to know that this money will go to programs all across the state, and while Iowa Child Abuse Prevention directs the program, it is administered by providers all across the state. Scott says the average donation in the other check-offs are eight to 10 dollars, and they are hoping people will donate more than a dollar to this program.