First Posted: 4/2/2009
Foreclosures. Job loss. Empty wallets. Empty stomachs. Budget cuts. Bail-outs. Handouts. Struggle. More struggle.
At first glance, it seems the effects of the sour-puss economy are obvious.
But its not the case.
These all seem like adult problems, adult concerns and issues, but what impacts us also impacts our children.
As Ive done research for a Youth at Risk series that is focusing on the struggling economys effects on children and parenting, it is more clear that substance abuse and child abuse are growing concerns in this tough economy. The numbers are getting larger and the resources to combat the issue seem to be getting slimmer.
From a 2008 Year End Report by the Surry County Community Child Protection Team, nearly 5,000 adults and 500 adolescents are in need of substance abuse services.
Another disturbing fact showed that almost 1,000 parents were reported for suspected child abuse and neglect to the Surry County Department of Social Services.
As I continued to talk to different officials like the superintendents of the school systems and those at the Childrens Center of Surry, many of them expressed that in difficult economic situations some issues of substance abuse and child abuse and neglect can be heightened.
Robin Testerman, the executive director of the Childrens Center, summed up some of the problems the youth are facing as an issue of a lack of parental involvement.
She recently said, It is so hard as parents are struggling and their lives are busy, theyre trying to make a living.
She continued, Kids are exposed to more things, like text messaging and the influence of the Internet. Parents are the anti-drug.
Ill go one step further the community is the anti-drug and the anti-abuse.
It may take a village to raise a child, but it also takes a village to combat its issues.
Today is a good day to start supporting the youth.
The Surry County Community Child Protection Team and Safe Kids Northwest Piedmont is hosting Celebrate Children, an afternoon of free fun from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. in downtown Dobson today.
There will be free food, information and resources to help parents and children.
This is the perfect opportunity to educate ourselves and our kids, the more we support events like this and organizations that plan them we can redirect our children from being Youth at risk to Youth aimed at success.
Erin C. Perkins is a staff reporter for The Mount Airy News. She can be reached at [email protected] or 719-1952.