Very few people believe that someone they love or trust could ever hurt their child. But it happens. In 2009, a study, published in the August issue of Pediatrics found that 83% of beating/shaking injuries causing the death of a child were at the hands of mother’s partner. Far too often a child is abused or even killed when left in the care of a parent’s partner, which is why Marion County Children Services is launching a new campaign urging parents to get to know a person before they let them around their children.
The Choose Your Partner Carefully campaign is developed to create awareness of the risk children face when a non-related caregiver is entrusted with their care. Many non-biological partners have no relationship or commitment to the child. They are primarily interested in their own romantic involvement with the parent and become irritated when problems with the child arise. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the common circumstances for a child’s death are the child being at home, being alone with the mother’s partner, and crying. It is imperative that parents realize that when they choose a partner for themselves, they are choosing one for their child too!
Informational brochures are being distributed throughout the community that provide a self assessment tool to help parents better evaluate the likelihood that their partner could become a perpetrator of abuse, as well as educate them on community resources.
The most prevalent family conditions identified during the 2010 child abuse or neglect investigations completed by Marion County Children Services were economic problems and single head of household. Many of these parents lack childcare but need to work in order to make ends meet. Instead of seeking a qualified childcare center or person to care for their child, parents are leaving them with their partners. Not only do the partners often times have no relationship with the child; they have even less patience and maturity than the parent.
Sometimes, when we are in love, we can miss the warning signs. The following are a few questions parents should ask themselves about their partner before allowing them to be around their child.
Does your partner:
- Show anger or impatience when your child cries or has a tantrum?
- Call your child bad names or put him down?
- Think it is funny to scare your child?
- Make all decisions for you and your child?
- Tell you that you are a bad parent or that you should not have your kids?
- Pretend that when he/she hurts your child that you are to blame or that it’s no big deal?
- Tell you that your child is a nuisance?
- Have a criminal history?
- Abuse drugs, alcohol or prescription medication?
- Get violent or controlling with you?
If you answered yes to even one of these questions, your child might be at risk. Parents should never leave their child with someone they don’t trust with their child’s life. Your child is counting on you to make the right decision!
The Choose Your Partner Campaign not only helps parents recognize potential warning signs of abuse but informs them about additional community resources for childcare that they may be unaware of such as the Marion County Job and Family Services at 740-387-8560 or Boys and Girls Club at 740-387-3462.
Parents are encouraged to contact Marion County Children Services to obtain more information about the campaign and/or referral to community resources.
If you or your organization is interested in participating with the campaign, please contact Terrie Robinson at 740-386-0452 and/or review our information tools on our website at www.marionkids.com.