New School Year Can Mean Increase in Child Abuse & Neglect Reports
CASA seeks to support teachers as they guide children at risk through the education system.
Brenham, Texas – Backpacks, pencils and notebooks are filling up the aisles in stores all over Texas, reminding us that a new school year is just around the corner. The beginning of the school year can be an exciting time for most children, but it can also lead to more reports of child abuse and neglect as faculty, staff and other parents notice signs of maltreatment children may have endured during their time away.
“During the summer, sometimes signs of abuse or neglect go unnoticed due to fewer interactions with teachers and other adults outside their family,” said Deanna Warmke, Executive Director of CASA for Kids of South Central
Texas. “Teachers and school officials are required by law to report any signs of abuse, so it is quite common for there to be a rise in reports when school starts again.”
Schools on average make up 13 percent of abuse and neglect reports and tend to be one of the highest sources of reports each year. In August and September CASA for Kids of South Central Texas will be reaching out to schools in an effort to provide support to those teachers with foster children in their classes.
These children have faced terrible situations in their short lives and often need additional guidance and understanding during the school year. For many school is a refuge from their home life and for others just being moved into a new district may be an additional trauma they now have to deal with. Their behaviors may not reflect the scared, traumatized child they are.
That is where CASA comes in. We aim to partner with the educators in our community as well as the individual teachers of our CASA kids. We fully understand the impact a teacher has in the life of a child and we want to help support, encourage and educate them about the extra needs of children within the foster care system. For instance, we offer classes on Trauma Informed Care, behavioral outcries and more individualized needs as they arise.
The increase in DFPS reports during the new school year frequently leads to more children entering the overburdened child welfare system, creating an urgent need for more CASA volunteers to speak up for the best interests of these children.
“In addition to the abuse or neglect they’ve already suffered, it is traumatizing for children to be placed in foster care because they are taken away from their home, family, friends and everything they have ever known due to no fault of their own,” said Warmke. “Our committed volunteers at CASA for Kids of South Central Texas stand by child’s side during this difficult time, work hard to ensure their voice is heard, and protect their best interests.”
“CASA for Kids of South Central Texas urgently needs more advocates that can make a difference in the lives of these children, especially now that the back-to-school season has begun,” said Warmke. “Become a CASA volunteer to ensure that all children get the support they deserve both in school and beyond – giving them a better chance at a brighter future.”