Ever held a newborn infant? There’s power in those tiny little feet and fingers, that shaky cry that announces to the world, “I’m here.” It’s the power to claim your heart before you knew it was available.
There’s an innocence, too. An innocence that grows into trust as primal needs are met, comfort given and love exchanged.
But not every baby turned toddler then child gets to grow up that way.
The Indiana Department of Child Services reports that 59 children succumbed to unnatural deaths between July 2015 and July 2016, the latest year data is available.
The report also provides insight into how those 59 children lived, and died.
Head trauma was a contributing factor in the deaths of 92 percent of the kids. Don’t turn away from what that means. They were shaken. They were hit with fists and hard objects. Their little bodies were banged against the floor or thrown against the wall.
In 61 percent of the cases, it was Mom or Dad or both who did the beating, who perpetrated horror on their own children before they succumbed.
We — all of us — have a responsibility to intervene if we believe child abuse and neglect is happening. DCS operates a child abuse and neglect hotline — 1-800-800-5556 — every hour of every day all year long. Callers can remain anonymous.
A public online training and information course and details on the child abuse hotline can be found at secure.in.gov/dcs/2971.htm.
If you are aware of an abusive situation, call the hotline or call the police or tell someone who can intervene. Your action may be a lifeline for a child whose bruises stem from a betrayal of the worst kind.
Time will heal their wounds. Love will mend their hearts. And, maybe, just maybe, they will learn to trust again.
— Members of the News and Tribune editorial board are Publisher Bill Hanson, Editor Susan Duncan, Assistant Editor Chris Morris, Assistant Editor Jason Thomas and Digital Editor Elizabeth DePompei.