April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. A recent state study found the number of reported — and confirmed — child abuse cases rose in Iowa during 2009, after a few years of declines. Steve Scott, executive director of Prevent Child Abuse Iowa, says the 11% increase in child abuse cases last year may be due to several reasons.
“There’s certainly some suspicion that the economy would’ve been a factor and that’s something the Department of Human Services noted when they released the information,” Scott says. “Certainly one of the significant factors is drug use and that perhaps has also gone up.”
The state investigated nearly 26,000 reports of child abuse or neglect last year. In about two-thirds of the cases, investigations showed there had been no abuse. Scott says the month will feature activities across Iowa to address child abuse, but he says they won’t be focused on harm to children, but rather the things being done to make their lives better.
“Our theme is Pinwheels for Prevention,” Scott says. “Pinwheels is a recollection of some of the fun parts of childhood and we’re hoping that will be the kind of childhood that all children in Iowa will experience.” Scott says the annual conference for Prevent Child Abuse Iowa will be a one-day event this year instead of two.
With the shorter event for the first time in 29 years, he says costs can be reduced for participants. There will be 15 workshops throughout the day on May 3rd in West Des Moines, focusing on child abuse prevention and parenting. The conference attracts nearly 500 people each year. For more information, visit “www.pcaiowa.org” or call 1-800-CHILDREN.
By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City