Children learn what they live

  • Published
  • By Lawanna R. Barron
  • 23d Medical Operations Squadron
The U. S. Department of Health and Human Services reported in 2009 approximately 3.3 million child abuse reports and allegations were made involving an estimated 6 million children.

Many of these reports involved multiple children. More than five children die every day as a result of child abuse and approximately 80 percent are under 4 years old.

Child abuse occurs at every socioeconomic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions and levels of education and in military communities. The forms of child abuse are physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and neglect.

The estimated annual cost of child abuse and neglect in the U.S. in 2008 was $124 billion. However, there are long term cost that can never be determined in dollars and cents. These costs are seen throughout the life of a victim from childhood to adulthood.

·Children who experience abuse and neglect are 59 percent more likely to be arrested as a juvenile, 28 percent more likely to be arrested as an adult, and 30 percent more likely to commit violent crime.

·Children whose parents abuse alcohol and other drugs are three times more likely to be abused and more than four times more likely to be neglected than children from non-abusing families.

·Abused children are 25 percent more likely to experience teen pregnancy.

·Abused teens are less likely to practice safe sex, putting them at greater risk for sexually transmitted diseases.

·About 30 percent of abused and neglected children will later abuse their own children continuing the cycle of abuse.

·About 80 percent of 21 year olds who were abused as children met criteria for at least one psychological disorder.

·As many as two-thirds of the people in treatment for drug abuse report being abused or neglected as children.

·14 percent of all men and 36 percent of all women in prison were abused as children.

When children live in homes that are free from child and partner abuse, there is a greater likelihood for the child to have a more successful life. A child's life is more enhanced when parents provide a home that is enriched with praise, encouragement and acceptance.

The Moody Family Advocacy Program offers many classes to help families. Such classes include: Great Expectations, 1-2-3 Magic, Common Sense Parenting, Active Parenting of Teens, Prevention Anger Management and Couples Communication. They also offer the Tater Tots Play Group for parents with children under 3 years old, which meets every Friday from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the Freedom Fitness Annex.

Agencies of the Integrated Delivery System which provide support include: Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Program, Airman and Family Readiness Center, Chapel, Child Development Center, Drug Demand Reduction Program, Equal Opportunity, Health and Wellness Center, Mental Health Clinic, Moody School Liaison Officer, Moody Spouses Club, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program and the Youth Center.

Ensuring children are protected requires everyone in the Moody community to report suspected abuse or neglect. AFI 40-301 requires all active duty members and civilians to report any suspicion of child or partner abuse to the Family Advocacy Program by calling 229-257-4805. The Family Advocacy Program is located in the 23d Medical Group across from the Dental Clinic.

Information for this article was obtained from the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Justice with contributions from Moody's Family Advocacy Program.