To the Editor:
As some of your readers may know, April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. While highlighting this important issue once a year is a good thing, it is not effective unless its message is practiced every day.
New Jersey is one of 18 states in the country in which every citizen is considered a “mandated reporter” in matters of child abuse and neglect. This means that you do not have to be a pediatrician or a teacher if you suspect a child is being maltreated—it is your responsibility to report this.
In 2013 there were nine children who died in New Jersey as a result of child abuse. For this reason, it is critical to reach out to the Department of Child Protection & Permanency through its hotline –1-877-NJ ABUSE – to report any reasonable suspicion of abuse. Callers may request anonymity and will be treated with professionalism and respect; I know, because I have called and it has always been the right thing to do.
Please remember that children’s voices are not heard, and it is everyone’s responsibility to protect our most vulnerable citizens.
Thank you for your attention to this important issue.
Executive Director, Hudson County CASA