Summer is nearing an end and children all across Kentucky have or soon will be headed back to school. While many students may groan at the thought of homework, tests, book reports and science projects, most are also excited to see old friends and to get a fresh start on a new year.
A child’s education is one of the most important factors that will determine his or her success later in life. Statistics overwhelmingly show that children who finish high school are much more likely to find long-term employment and career opportunities, and it also opens the door for them to continue their education in college or vocational school, further enhancing their chances at success.
Success at school however, often hinges on stability at home. A child who has love and support at home is much more likely to excel in the classroom than a child whose home is filled with chaos, uncertainty and turmoil. Even worse are the prospects for a child who is the victim of abuse or neglect.
Across Kentucky, thousands of children arrive at school having endured physical, emotional or sexual abuse the night before. A child suffering from abuse or neglect is not likely to be able to focus at school when he or she fears what awaits them at home.
Without help, these children are almost doomed to failure in school, meaning their chances of success as adults are greatly diminished and that harms society as a whole. Abused children often are destined to a life of poverty, incarceration, and in many cases, they become abusers themselves and the destructive cycle continues.
You can help by reporting child abuse. In Kentucky, you have a legal obligation to report suspected child abuse or neglect and you can do so anonymously by calling the Kentucky Child Abuse Reporting Hotline at 1-800-752-6200 which is available around the clock. You can also notify your local police, the Child Protective Services Office for your county or the Commonwealth Attorney’s office.
You can also help by supporting agencies like Sunrise Children’s Services, which has been serving children in crisis since 1869.
Sunrise Children’s Services is a private provider of care to children who have suffered abuse and neglect. Licensed by the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Sunrise operates a statewide network of residential centers, therapeutic foster homes, family preservation services and family counseling centers. We hold ourselves to the highest accountability standard. We are the only private child care provider in Kentucky offering a full spectrum of services that is accredited by the Joint Commission, the premiere health care accreditation organization in the country. You can learn more about Sunrise at www.sunrise.org.
We hope the 2011-12 school year is a great success for the children in your life. We will continue to work to make sure the children who are abused and neglected have every chance at the same success.
Dr. William Smithwick
President and CEO
Sunrise Children’s Services