According to the most recent report issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Children’s Bureau, Kentucky had 20,000 cases of abuse reported in 2016. This is equivalent to 20 out of every 1,000 kids in the state, according to WKU Public Radio. Sadly, this number reflects a six percent increase from 2015. And with the increased number of reports of child abuse being filed, the state has experienced a 34 percent increase in total involving these types of cases from 2012-2016.
What is contributing to this spike in child abuse cases?
The source highlighted that in the state of Kentucky, the opioid epidemic is one of the factors that is contributing to this increase. According to Dr. Erin Frazier, who is the Medical Director for Prevention and Wellness at Norton Children’s Hospital in Louisville, “When you have babies born to mothers in recovery from the opioid epidemic, those babies also tend to be a lot more fussy and cry more, so they are at higher risk of abuse.” Another factor that leads to cases of abuse is Shaken Baby Syndrome which usually occurs in the first year of a child’s life.
What is Shaken Baby Syndrome?
Shaken Baby Syndrome, which is also referred to as abusive head trauma, “is a serious brain injury resulting from forcefully shaking an infant or toddler,” according to the Mayo Clinic. This violent act “destroys a child’s brain cells and prevents his or her brain from getting enough oxygen.” Shaken Baby Syndrome is considered to be a form of abuse and can result in permanent brain damage, or worse, death.
Some of the symptoms that you might see in a child who has suffered from a brain injury include:
- Extreme fussiness or irritability
- Difficulty staying awake
- Breathing problems
- Poor eating
- Pale or bluish skin
Although the state has experienced an increase in child abuse cases, the number of fatalities in the recent years have actually gone down. In 2016, 15 children were fatally abused and in 2015, 14 kids were killed as a result of being mistreated.
If you recently divorced from your spouse and believe your child is living in unsafe conditions while with the other parent, contact a family law attorney in Louisville, KY who can help you obtain full custody of your child.
The fact is, parents, especially those who are new to parenthood, can prevent cases of abuse from developing by taking new parent education classes so that they can better understand the dangers associated with handling their baby violently and provide tips on how to soothe a crying baby. It is important that if you have someone caring for your child that they understand how to properly care for them.
If you suspect that your child is living in an abusive environment, either the abuse is being inflicted by an ex-husband or wife, another family member, or a caregiver, you need to report the mistreatment and contact a Louisville, KY family law attorney immediately. USAttorneys.com will gladly work with you to help you locate a nearby Louisville, KY family law lawyer so that they can help get your child removed from this harmful environment.