Agencies and volunteers who work with children gathered today to discuss the risk factors and signs of child abuse.
Region One of Texas has one of the highest rates of child abuse in the state according to Don Nicholson with the Department Of State Health Services.
Today, around 500 teachers, volunteers, and law enforcement agents gathered to discuss how to better recognize and prevent it.
“It doesn’t take a miraculous effort on their part, it doesn’t take them to become a new person that in the day to day of their job, they have the ability to encourage and inspire the people they are working with to take the next step and to really move forward in life while they are dealing with it,” said Chadwick Sapenter, a guest speaker at the event.
Child abuse can be physical, emotional or sexual and there are many different types of victims.
“Child abuse cuts across socioeconomics, it cuts across race, it cuts across culture so it isn’t just one thing that we can see, so if we know what it was, we would address it immediately,” said Nicholson.
Sapenter, who was a foster kid himself, says it takes just one person to step up and help a child.
“The typical things that land kids in this system would be homelessness, physical abuse, neglect, not having resources, poverty, those are the things that lead to this situation but even in the middle of all of that the thing that changed my life is that I had one person who was a CASA volunteer stepped into my life and to speak hope into my life to challenge me to not be defined by my situation.”
April is National Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month.
Nicholson reminds anyone who may believe a child is being abused to contact help.
The number you can call is 1-800-422-4453.