KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Every ten seconds, a report of child abuse is made nationwide. To spread the message during Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention month,
St. Luke's Crittenton Children's Center visited with sixth grade students at Plaza Middle School on Tuesday.
"It's a great opportunity for kiddos to take a look at what real world, real life scenarios might include and what they might be faced with and how they can be everyday heroes," said Stephanie Clippard, Gifted Facilitator for Sixth Graders, Plaza Middle School.
"We're just here to raise awareness to get the idea and thought into kids brains and to make them aware of their surroundings, make them aware of their friends, with the goal being safety," said Marion Morris, Supervisor of Family Engagement, St. Luke's Crittenton Children's Center.
The visit focused on warning signs and how to report abuse. Morris said abuse can be physical, verbal, emotional or psychological.
Every year, more than 3.6 million abuse cases are reported to child protection agencies nationwide. Those cases involve more than 6.6 million children.
"If you have a gut feeling that something is wrong, if you have a gut feeling that someone in your life is not okay, go to them, ask them, talk to them," said Morris.
According to the Missouri Department of Social Services, reports to the Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline show nearly 74,000 reports were made involving more than 106,000 children — an eight percent increase from 2017.
"If nobody reports it, we're not going to know about it. We're in the business of keeping children safe because children need to be safe," said Morris.
There are mandated reporters, but reporting abuse is not limited to teachers, nurses and coaches. Crittenton Children's Center encourages everyone to use their voice and help put an end to child abuse.
Crittenton Children's Center will visit with fifth graders at Center Elementary School on April 22.