Records show state social workers determined more than nine-thousand Iowa children were either abused or neglected in 2021. April of this year is Child Abuse Prevention Month and the Child Assistance Resource and Education or CARE Team in Kossuth County is one of the groups around the state sponsoring events.
“Child abuse is more prevalent in rural communities. It’s not talked about as much,” says Ally Klee, director of the Kossuth County CARE Team. “I know that a lot of our services for families that do suffer with child abuse are an hour away, where if you live in a city — a 15 minute drive and people can connect you to resources super easy.”
The Kossuth County CARE Team provides help to families in need and the group has hung banners in Algona to call attention to Child Abuse Prevention Month.
“Then we’ll have pinwheels around town as well,” Klee says. “They’ll be out at the Easter Egg Hunts that are happening in April. Kids can go and grab a pinwheel. They’re going to be blue and they’ll say ‘Prevent Child Abuse’ on them and it’s fun for the kids because they get a fun pinwheel, but it’s also bringing awareness to the parents too, that it is an issue.”
A state report indicates nearly 90% of the cases of child abuse or neglect identified in Iowa last year were because the child was underfed, denied critical care or exposed to drugs. State social workers reviewed about 56-hundred more allegations of abuse and neglect of Iowa children last year, compared to the first year of the pandemic. Officials say that’s likely because teachers and other mandatory reporters of child abuse were not seeing children in person on a regular basis throughout 2020.
(By Brian Wilson, KLGA, Algona)