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Parents' hard work has value

Many of us look back on our childhood as a time we didn't have a worry in the world.

Unfortunately, a large number of Minnesota's children don't have it so easy. These children are victims of maltreatment and neglect.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services reports that "the effects of child abuse and neglect are far reaching. Research has shown that children who have been abused and neglected are more likely to perform poorly in school, get involved in criminal activities and abuse or neglect their own children. Preventing abuse and neglect is critical to protecting Minnesota's children and minimizing the costs of long-term intervention for crime, corrections, truancy, hospitalization, special education and mental health care."

According to DHS statistics in 2006, almost 7,000 children were abused and neglected; 48 children suffered life-threatening injuries and 19 children died from maltreatment. These 2006 statistics should be a reality for all of us as two of the 19 deaths were children living in Stevens County. Child abuse happens everywhere; even in rural communities like ours.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. It is a time to reflect on what we as a community do to support children and families. Children don't come with instructions and too many parents face the challenge of raising their children without the knowledge and support they need and deserve.

We all have opportunities to reach out to the parents within our own families, neighborhoods, places of worship, and places of employment.

Certain individuals, based on their professional association with children, must, by law, report any suspected abuse and neglect. However, preventing child abuse and neglect is the responsibility of every community member. If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, call Stevens County Human Services at (320) 589-7400 for help.

This April, let's make sure all parents know that their hard work is valued. I encourage everyone to find a way to reach out to friends, family, and neighbors to support children and families in our area. Think of what a difference it could make for the future of children and the future of our community.

Jennifer Rose

Stevens County Child

Abuse Prevention Council

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