Jayden Davidson, Zyairre Pasenow and Nicolas Shaw, three young children from Lorain County, all died from what police say were horrific acts of child abuse.
But their extreme cases only skim the surface of child abuse in the community.
• Use firm communication. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.
• Model the behavior that you desire in them. Children learn from what they see and hear.
• Encourage your children often and recognize each one’s personal best.
• Use “time-out” balanced with “time-in.” Remember, discipline is a verb meaning “to teach.”
WHERE TO TURN
Lorain County Children Services has a hot line for people who have concerns about a child, whether it’s their own child or one in the community. Call (440) 329-2121 or reach help online at www.childrenservices.org. There you will find information on community resources in the area.
While Lorain County Children Services had limited to no contact with the boys’ families before their deaths, they continue to investigate many other cases, said Patti-Jo Burtnett, spokeswoman for Children Services.
This year, through the end of July, Burtnett said the agency has been involved with 353 families due to issues related to abuse and 517 families due to issues related to neglect. They range in severity from minor incidents to those requiring a child be removed from the home.
Involvement doesn’t always lead to removal. Each case is assessed to determine what is in the best interest of a child, and many times staying in the home with parents who are connected with community resources is the best approach, Burtnett said.
However, some abuses don’t have to continue. Parenting is a hard job that comes with no training or instruction manual. Daily stresses of life that once were manageable can become overwhelming, resulting in frustrations that evolve into abuse or neglect.
However, there is a solution to the problem, and it starts with picking up a phone.
“It’s OK to need help, and Lorain County has a number of high-quality organizations and services to help families,” Burnett said.
“Parents and caregivers can always call us. Many of the cases reported to us are reported by parents or family members asking for help or advice.”
If calling Children Services seems too intimidating, Burtnett also recommends calling social service agencies such as the Nord Center, Catholic Charities, Genesis House or Big Brothers Big Sisters. While their main function is not child abuse prevention, each one can be a starting point for help. Even a family doctor, pediatrician or school counselor can offer connection to resources in the community.