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Rally kicks off Child Abuse Prevention month, highlights efforts to protect Kentucky, Indiana kids

April 25, 2022

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Child abuse and neglect is a nationwide epidemic, and though statistics are improving in Kentucky and Indiana, advocates say until every child is free from abuse and violence, there’s still work to do.

“Child abuse knows no special month, it is an all day, everyday issue,” said Pam Darnall, president and CEO of Family & Children’s Place.

Protecting children from the harms of abuse has been an obligation for Family and Children’s Place for more than a century. But, Darnall says the organization is not alone in the fight.

On Thursday, child advocates from local prosecutors to state leaders, rallied in Louisville to kick off National Child Abuse Prevention Month in April. Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, Sen. Morgan McGarvey, Rep. Attica Scott, and community partners like Kosair Charities were among the rally attendees.

“It takes state-level policies and support, and the direct service providers who are boots on the ground doing the grunt work, to really make sure that we’re preventing child abuse and neglect,” Darnall said.

The call to action also highlighted efforts and strategies already in place, including Gov. Andy Beshear’s proposed state budget, which increases pay for social workers, fully funds Medicaid, and allows more money for child advocacy centers.

“It’s simple. You put kids first, you take care of the people that take care of our kids, and you ensure that organizations have the resources they need to do what they’ve been asked to do,” Coleman said.

With the third-largest child advocacy center in Kentucky and offices in southern Indiana, Family and Children’s Place offers counseling, medical exams, mental health services and houses LMPD’s Crimes Against Children Unit, as well as a branch of Child Protective Services.

All the services are free to the families.

“With our year that just ended in June, we saw almost 1,600 children just in this one service and that’s the most we’ve seen in eight years,” Darnall said. “We know that even though the number of reports of child abuse declined during the pandemic, child abuse and neglect has continued.”

With Kentucky ranking fifth, and Indiana 11th in the nation for child abuse victims, Darnall says the community and these life-saving measures must be that glimmer of hope for children in their greatest time of need.

“While we personally may not be responsible, we are all accountable for the community that we build and the kind of community that we have our children and families to live in,” she said.

Link to Original Story on WLKY