Each April, National Child Abuse Prevention Month is observed to generate awareness of the plight of abused and neglected children. Most of us would rather not think about children being abused, but when it is brought to our attention, it is human nature to look for someone to blame.

Often it is governmental agencies that receive the brunt of public scrutiny, but child abuse is a community problem that requires a community solution. The cycle of child abuse and neglect will repeat itself until the community comes forward to help these children. Everyday people can assist an overburdened and underfunded child protection system.

There are a number of ways you can help. You can learn more about the issues facing abused and neglected children and, in turn, make others aware of the problems these children face.

You can become a foster or adoptive parent to a child in need of a loving home. You can be part of the solution by becoming a CASA volunteer — a court-appointed special advocate to speak up for abused children, as they navigate the foster care system to help them reach safe, permanent homes. Since Capital Area CASA Association’s inception in 1992, 1,041 volunteer advocates have provided a voice in court for 2,083 children in East Baton Rouge Parish.

As National Child Abuse Prevention Month draws to a close, public awareness efforts will decrease, and the focus on child abuse will dissipate. Unfortunately, children will still be at risk.

Our community must consider what we can do to speak up for a child after the formal observance ends. There is a child in the foster care system who needs your help.

Liz Betz

executive director Capital Area CASA Association

Baton Rouge