This Friday marks the annual Stand Against Child Abuse here in Owensboro.  I have had many conversations with my friends Kristy and Michelle, the organizers of the event, about local child abuse statistics.  They are absolutely startling, horrifying.  As a matter of fact, childhood trauma (and its far-reaching effects) was the featured-speaker topic at the March 28th Rooster Booster breakfast.  Dominic Cappello, the co-author of Anna, Age Eight, was on hand to discuss the frighteningly common frequency of physical and emotional abuse of children.  His speech was riveting.  But I couldn't help but wonder if everyone really understood the scope of what Dominic was talking about.  Honestly, if I wasn't already aware of these local abuse statistics, I may not have.  But, take a look.  Everyone should see this.  Everyone should understand this.  THIS is what we're talking about and why we are taking a stand.

From February 1st, 2018 through January 31st, 2019 there were 3,460 substantiated cases of child abuse and neglect in the seventeen county region served by local child protection agencies.  The counties included in this surveyed region include: Daviess, Hancock, McLean, Ohio, Henderson, Union, Webster, Butler, Warren, Edmonson, Metcalfe, Monroe, Simpson, Barren, Hart, Allen and Logan.

Now, there are a couple of key points to focus on here.  #1- The fact that there have been 3,460 cases in the past year.  Let that sink in.  3,460 cases!  That is unfathomable and, honestly, unforgivable.  But, for me, the biggest red flag here is the word "substantiated."  These are the cases that we know of and can definitely prove.  That figure . . . 3,460 . . . does NOT include the cases from the region we don't know of, the ones that don't get reported.  Does that then double that number?  Triple it?

Here's some additional data to consider.  These figures, as of April 2nd, 2018, reflect the number of children, by county, who have been removed from their homes and remanded into foster care because of substantiated abuse and neglect.

Daviess: 147

Hancock: 9

Henderson: 60

McLean: 15

Ohio: 94

Union: 35

Webster: 11

Western Kentucky, we have a problem.  A big one.

But the problem, as you can imagine, is statewide.  In 2017, 83 children in Kentucky were critically injured in cases of abuse.  51 were killed.  The problem is devastating.

This Friday, we are joining forces to rally and reflect.  The Stand Against Child Abuse will take place between 4:30pm and 7pm on Friday, April 12th on the front lawn of Kentucky Wesleyan College.  If you have driven by the campus in the last week or so, you likely have noticed it is already lined with blue pinwheels.  Those pinwheels spin to signify the importance of this cause.  Please join us in a movement or solidarity.

As the cover of Dominic Cappello's book, Anna, Age Eight, says, "Our kids aren't safe.  That changes now."