SPOKANE, Wash. - Every single day in the U.S., five children die from child abuse, according to the American Society for Positive Care of Children. Oftentimes, people who witness abuse put the responsibility of reporting it on the shoulders of someone else.
Local experts say there are two main reasons for that. First, the question of whether or not the person reporting can remain anonymous. The Children's Administration in Spokane says they do everything they can to ensure anonymity. Unfortunately, in some cases, this information can be revealed in a court.
The second reason people fail to report alleged abuse is because they believe the child is going to be put in a worse situation than they are already in; ripped from their home and placed with a stranger.
The Children's Administration says that's not necessarily true.
When a call comes in, there's a 24-hour period allotted for an investigation. Then 72 hours is given for a family response if the allegations meet the definition of child abuse and neglect.
If the child is in danger and needs to be removed, the Children's Administration looks first to other family members to care for the child. If that is not an option, they next look to people who have an established relationship with the child, like a family friend. If no one is available, then they explore the licensed foster home avenue.
Erik Larson, Home Finders Supervisor with the Children's Administration explained, ”our licensed foster homes; they are looked at very closely. The inside, the outside of the house physically and then the make up of the family to make sure that they meet all the qualifications to be a foster home.”
During this time every step is taken to preserve the family unit.The ultimate goal if a child is removed is to get them back in the home safely as quickly as possible.
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