Ruben Rosario: Rising toll of child abuse deaths requires attention – and action
By Rubén Rosario

Updated: 10/25/2009 01:26:43 PM CDT

As painful as this story is, I am happy to see a major newspaper printing the stories and data that shine a light into the frightening world of abused and neglected children.

The question we should all be asking ourselves is what life was like for these children before they were suffocated, burned, starved, and beaten to death.

Children forced to live in cages

Seven year old hangs himself

Murdered metro baby

It has been my experience as a guardian ad-Litem, that children spend many years being abused and neglected, often under the eye of an under – resourced social service provider. The worst abuse is invisible. The impact of abuse lasts forever. Early and extensive intervention can help an abused child lead a normal life.

I agree with Ruben Rosario, that the public has no clue about the depth and scope of child abuse. I would add that three million cases of abuse and neglect are reported each year, and only a small percentage of child sex abuse is ever dealt with openly or adequately.

This years death toll of murdered, hanged, and otherwise suicidal very young children is a powerful indicator that we as a community are failing the weakest and most vulnerable among us.

Without intervention, at risk children become adolescent felons and preteen moms, perpetuating the kinds of dysfunctional families that they were born into. The cycle can only end with our help. Our schools, city streets, and newspaper headlines will be much happier if we should make that choice.