Salt & Light: A Guide to Loving Northwest Indiana

Page 39


Imagine you are a child that has endured sexual abuse from your father for the past six years. :PUJL [OL HNL VM Ä]L `V\ OH]L ILLU HMYHPK HMYHPK VM `V\Y MH[OLY (MYHPK [OH[ PM `V\ [VSK HU`VUL OL ^V\SK IL HUNY` HUK PU[LUZPM` OPZ HI\ZL )\[ [OPZ WHZ[ ^LLR ^HZ [OL SHZ[ Z[YH^ @V\ ZH^ HU HK ^P[O H U\TILY [V JHSS [V YLWVY[ HI\ZL HUK ÄUHSS` decided the time had come to tell someone. The risk was worth it. You call the number and a stranger answers. Haltingly, you begin to recount the painful memories of the last six years. To your amazement, the person on the phone for the Indiana Department of Child Services listens to your story. After the ÄYZ[ [LUZL TVTLU[Z [OL MLLSPUNZ HUK Z[VYPLZ N\ZO MYVT `V\Y OLHY[ The thought of leaving your home to stay with a foster family is terrifying. If your aunt still lived close by you could Z[H` ^P[O OLY I\[ `V\ KLJPKL HU`[OPUN PZ IL[[LY [OHU OVTL @V\ HYL YLSPL]LK [V ÄUK V\[ `V\Y MVZ[LY MHTPS` PZ L_[YLTLS` caring. They speak kindly to you and provide you with a nice room to stay in. But your joy quickly fades as the court date looms like a black storm cloud. Facing your father again, possibly sending him to jail is terrifying, but you have no choice. This heartbreaking scenario is repeated over and over again in Lake County every week. Indiana Department of Child Services (IDCS) case workers receive dozens—sometimes hundreds—of tips from the Indiana Child Abuse Hotline L]LY` KH` -YVT 6J[VILY [V +LJLTILY MVY L_HTWSL 0+*: PU 3HRL *V\U[` YLJLP]LK reports. They substantiated 391 of those reports, with 187 cases resulting in removal of children from their homes.1 There are countless types of child abuse and neglect. In many instances, drugs are involved. For example, a single mother, depressed with the endless cycle of poverty, starts self-medicating with marijuana or prescription drugs to numb the pain, leading her to neglect her children’s needs. She is embarrassed to admit needing help both emotionally and physically. And all too often, children who are victims of abuse grow up to continue the cycle with their own children. IDCS case workers are dedicated to helping clients. They constantly investigate homes where children are apparent victims of neglect or abuse, and they keep their phones with them at all times. They are not looking to permanently remove children from their homes; they are committed to helping families get back together. Through the efforts of IDCS and their network of foster families, 80 percent of children eventually return to their families.2 ;OL X\LZ[PVU PZ OV^ JHU ^L HZ H JVTT\UP[` JVTL [VNL[OLY [V WYL]LU[ HI\ZL HUK ULNSLJ[ MYVT OHWWLUPUN PU [OL ÄYZ[ place? )HZLK VU H :HS[ 3PNO[ PU[LY]PL^ VM HU 0UKPHUH +LWHY[TLU[ VM *OPSK :LY]PJLZ *HZL >VYRLY ^OV ^PZOLZ [V YLTHPU HUVU`TV\Z (WYPS

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