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One abused child in the community is one too many

One abused or neglected child in our community is one too many.
We were horrified to receive the report of five children in our community who were removed from their home, with authorities describing what they found as some of the “worst conditions seen in several years.”
Allegedly living in “deplorable” conditions, these children were reportedly unable to use simple eating utensils, read or write.
According to Washington County Sheriff Ed Graybeal, “Some of them couldn’t even tell you their name.”
It is hard to imagine that this type of neglect and abuse could happen here.
But it can. As a caring community, we all have a responsibility to look out for one another, especially for those too young to do so for themselves.
It is quite ironic that last week’s news of this unspeakable crime is followed this week by our story of a remarkable Jonesborough mother, Evelyn Human, who is being honored as one of six 2010 Mother of the Year award recipients, given out by the Tennesssee Justice Center.
The award is in recognition of her persistence in battling to obtain medical services for her 25-year-old son John, who needs constant care, and for her extraordinary commitment to the healthcare of all Tennessee children and families.
On a scale of 1.4 to 7.9, Washington County ranked 5.3 in reported child abuse cases in 2007, according to the Kids Count Data Center, based on information from the Department of Children’s Services.
We need to be aware of the children who live in our neighborhoods.
The first step in helping abused or neglected children is learning to recognize the signs of child abuse and neglect.
Just one single sign doesn’t prove child abuse is occurring, but a closer look at the situation may be needed when those signs appear repeatedly or in combination.
If you do suspect a child is being harmed, reporting your suspicions may protect the child and get help for the family.
Any concerned person can report suspicions of child abuse and neglect by simple making a phone call to 1-877-237-0004.
The following signs may signal the presence of child abuse or neglect.
The child:
-Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance
-Has not received help for physical or medical problems brought to the parents’ attention
-Has learning problems (or difficulty concentrating) that cannot be attributed to specific physical or psychological causes
-Is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen
-Lacks adult supervision
-Is overly compliant, passive, or withdrawn
-Comes to school or other activities early, stays late, and does not want to go home
The parent:
-Shows little concern for the child
-Denies the existence of—or blames the child for—the child’s problems in school or at home
-Asks teachers or other caregivers to use harsh physical discipline if the child misbehaves
-Sees the child as entirely bad, worthless, or burdensome
-Demands a level of physical or academic performance the child cannot achieve
-Looks primarily to the child for care, attention, and satisfaction of emotional needs
The parent and child:
-Rarely touch or look at each other
-Consider their relationship entirely negative