April is child abuse prevention month

One in ten children will be the victim of sexual abuse before the age of 18, according to the National Children’s Alliance.

Child abuse costs American taxpayers more than $124 billion each year, the organization said.

“With child abuse victims, there are so many things it can affect—psychological, health, a variety of things, so it ends up costing us when children are in the juvenile delinquency system, they’re placed in out-of-home care, the mental health, the AODA (Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse) issue, so it ends up really going into those services at the back end to really help kids overcome the abuse that they endured,” said Jeanne Meyer from the Family and Children’s Center. She joined News 8 at Noon Monday to talk about the problem of abuse and what programs they have in place to try to prevent it.

“Healthy Families is one of the programs (at the Family and Children’s Center) that gets in there and works with parents early on with newborn children to try to educate them on good parenting skills, good discipline techniques and so they really work with parents to try to get them the education so that they can prevent them from going into the system,” Meyer said.

The organization works with a coordinated multidisciplinary team throughout the child abuse investigation so they’re not duplicating services.

“Children are interviewed one time and really, holistically approaching that and giving the best services that we can to kids and families so that we can give them the help they need,” Meyer said.

You may have noticed blue ribbons on trees down Main Street in La Crosse. They were put there by the Coule Region Child Abuse Prevention Task Force to raise awareness of child abuse and the importance of supporting families to prevent abuse. Mayor Tim Kabat read a proclamation on Friday, April 4 proclaiming it National Child Abuse Prevention Month in La Crosse.

During the month of April, a representative from the Family and Children’s Center will join News 8 at Noon to continue to talk about child abuse prevention and programs that are helping children in our area.