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Minnesota’s children are our children, and for this reason alone we must not ignore the horrifying statistics and numbers that don’t even begin to dive into the cold, hard, and straight facts of child abuse and neglect right here in our state.

According to the Minnesota Department of Human Services , April 2010, 4,742 Minnesota Children were CONFIRMED as neglected or abused in 2009. Of these 4,742 children, 70% suffered from neglect, 44 children suffered life threatening injuries and 21 children died from maltreatment.

Inexcusable facts

• Median age for victims was six years old
• White Children accounted for 51 percent of maltreatment victims; African American children, 23 percent; American Indian children, 10 percent, Asian and Pacific Islander children, about one percent. Children who identified with two or more races accounted for 13 percent. Approximately two percent of the remaining cases, racial background was missing or unknown; 11 percent indicated Hispanic ethnicity.
• 76 percent of all alleged offenders were victims’ birth parents. Some children were victims of more than one offender.
• 20 percent of all those maltreated were physically abused.
• 16 percent of all victims suffered sexual abuse.
• One percent of all victims suffered medical neglect.
• One percent of all victims suffered from emotional or mental abuse.

Help prevent child abuse and neglect

Although not every Minnesotan is by law a mandated reporter, Minnesotans are greatly encouraged to report suspected child abuse and neglect to their county social service agency or law enforcement agency, and help in the following ways:

• Host neighborhood/community conversations and small get-togethers about how to strengthen and support families

• Reach out and connect parents to local resources, including parenting education programs, mental health/chemical health counseling, childcare, or financial assistance

• Provide support to your stressed, overworked, tired neighborhood parents by baby-sitting, inviting their children over to play, helping the youth with homework or volunteer to help out at school functions

• Join, or start, a local child abuse prevention council

This article was submitted by Marina Lumsden


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