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The depraved women in Salinas who allegedly severely abused and neglected their children deserve prosecution under the fullest extent of the law. The case also serves as a reminder that April is Child Abuse Awareness Month. These reprehensible acts occurred in our community, and if we want these kinds of things to stop, the community needs to continue to heighten awareness of child abuse and neglect to prevent further acts.
According to the Monterey County Department of Social and Employment Services (DSES) Child and Family Services Review Self-Assessment Report, from 2008-09 to 2012-13, the number of referrals for child abuse and neglect has gone down substantially in Monterey County (mirroring the trend in California). On the one hand, it may seem that fewer referrals mean fewer acts of abuse and neglect. Yet, it may be that fewer referrals come in because people have become less aware or less apt to call in their suspicions. In Monterey County, the number of emergency response intakes has remained relatively flat — meaning that the same numbers of kids are receiving intervention from county services, despite fewer referrals. This finding may indicate that when county social workers go out for the evaluation, more intense intervention is required. Children age 0 to 4 comprise the largest proportion of children in foster care in our county.
The county continues to be supported by a forward-thinking DSES that encourages collaboration and wraparound services to help ensure that families that come to the attention of DSES receive the support needed and that children are safe. The Monterey Children's Council has launched an Early Childhood Development Initiative to bring together leaders and interested individuals to improve child well-being and the strength of families overall. First 5 Monterey County continues to advocate and develop resources for the needs of children 0 to 5 and families in need. CSU Monterey Bay's Strive initiative will bring together aspects of community resources to collaborate and develop stronger ties to support families. In addition, the university's successful Master of Social Work program provides opportunities for county workers to receive advanced training and is producing locally-educated social workers who develop advanced knowledge of the local area needs and resources.
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If you have any questions or concerns about what can be done to help children who have suffered from child abuse, or families of children who have died, please call Christopher Keane and The Keane Law Firm toll-free for free consultation at (888) 592-5437(KIDS), click on contact us here, or use the web form provided at https://www.keanelaw.com