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Sue Fegelein: Help prevent child abuse and neglect

Sue Fegelein/For the Craig Daily Press

Northwest Rocky Mountain Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA, is a local nonprofit. Its mission is to inspire, educate and empower community volunteers to advocate for the best interests of abused, neglected and at-risk children to help ensure safety and permanency in their lives. NWRM CASA also provides community education about child abuse and neglect.

Adults share a responsibility to protect against and report child abuse and neglect. Thankfully, the number of substantiated victims of child abuse and neglect in Moffat County decreased from 60 in 2014 to 49 in 2015. We must work together to continue to lower this number.

Listen to children. Let them know it is safe to talk about anything. Get to know your neighbors, child's friends and their families. Teach children the difference between “good touches” and “bad touches.” Screen babysitters and day care centers and assess their knowledge and training in child health, development, and care. Find local resources at https://211colorado.communityos.org/cms/node/142.

Warning signs of physical abuse may include:

• Behavioral changes such as: fear, anxiety, depression, aggression, hostility or withdrawal, not wanting to go home, appearing afraid of certain individuals, attempts at suicide

• Sleeping pattern changes, which may result in the child appearing tired or fatigued

• Changes in school performance and attendance

• Unexplained injuries such as burns, bruises, or fractures

• Injuries that don’t match the provided explanation

• Use of drugs or alcohol

Warning signs of sexual abuse may include:

• Trouble walking or sitting

• Sexual behavior, knowledge or language inappropriate for the child’s age

• Blood in the child’s underwear

• Abuse of other children sexually

Warning signs of neglect may include:

• Ill-fitting, filthy or inappropriate clothing for the weather

• Consistently bad hygiene (unbathed, matted and unwashed hair, noticeable body odor)

• Untreated illnesses and physical injuries

• Frequently unsupervised, left alone, or playing in unsafe situations and environments

• Poor school attendance or frequent tardiness

• Taking food without permission, eating a lot in one sitting or hiding food for later

Advocate for children. If a child reports that s/he has been harmed or hurt, keep calm, reassure the child that you believe him/her. Offer to help new parents who may not have support from extended family.

Children or teens who are being abused: don’t keep it secret. You are not at fault. Please tell a trusted adult immediately.

Speak quickly if you suspect abuse or neglect — a child's life may depend on it. Report child abuse and neglect anonymously at 1-844-CO-4-KIDS, or call the Moffat County Department of Social Services between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 970-824-8282 ext. 2042, or 5 p.m. to 9 a.m. at 970-824-8111. If a child is hurt or in imminent danger, call 911.

Learn about Northwest Rocky Mountain CASA and about volunteering to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children at rockymountaincasa.org.

Sources:Sources: “Child Abuse and Neglect-Topic Overview.” Webmd.com June 17, 2015, Helpguide.org, safehorizon.org, Colorado Department of Human Services, http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/child-abuse/basics/symptoms/con-20033789 “Child Abuse and Neglect-Topic Overview.” Webmd.com June 17, 2015, Helpguide.org, safehorizon.org, Colorado Department of Human Services, http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/child-abuse/basics/symptoms/con-20033789

Sources: “Child Abuse and Neglect-Topic Overview.” Webmd.com June 17, 2015, Helpguide.org, safehorizon.org, Colorado Department of Human Services, http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/child-abuse/basics/symptoms/con-20033789

Sue Fegelein, J.D., is Northwest Rocky Mountain CASA’s executive director.NWRM CASA provides volunteer advocates for abused and neglected children in Moffat, Routt and Grand counties.Sue Fegelein, J.D., is Northwest Rocky Mountain CASA’s executive director.NWRM CASA provides volunteer advocates for abused and neglected children in Moffat, Routt and Grand counties. Sue Fegelein, J.D., is Northwest Rocky Mountain CASA’s executive director.NWRM CASA provides volunteer advocates for abused and neglected children in Moffat, Routt and Grand counties.


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