For children suffering from abuse or neglect, summertime isn’t comprised of long, carefree summer days. In fact, this is the time when adults outside the home, like teachers and other caregivers, might not see the immediate impacts of the type of care – or lack of care – they may be receiving. As a result, incidences can go largely unreported.

This is also when soaring temperatures can lead to deadly consequences for physically neglected children. According to KidsandCars.org, a record-setting 52 children died in 2018 after being left in hot cars and 19 deaths have occurred so far in 2019. In addition to physical neglect, other types of neglect children may be suffering from include:

  • Emotional neglect: Impairing or negatively impacting a child’s emotional development and self-worth.
  • Medical neglect: Withholding or delaying the proper medical attention or care for a child.
  • Lack of supervision: Failing to provide the proper supervision based on age, situation, and development.
  • Educational neglect: Failing to provide a child with access to appropriate education.

In an effort to lower the cases of child neglect in Colorado, Kempe teamed with the Colorado Department of Human Services to implement SafeCare® Colorado. In a series of 18-20 in-home sessions spanning 4-6 months, parents of at-risk families can learn how to provide a safe, healthy home and interact positively with their children 0-5 years of age.

From July 2017 – June 2018 alone, SafeCare® Colorado received 4,456 referrals and had 1,805 participating families in 30 counties and 2 tribal nations.

Brian, a single dad, learned how to create a safe environment for his son Charlie and become a SafeCare® Colorado success story, thanks to parent support provider Matt. “I didn’t know what questions to ask,” he said. “I just wanted Charlie to be safe and to feel loved. Matt was really good about being patient with me. He made this wall that I keep running into feel more like a fence.”

If left untreated, the impacts of child neglect can extend far into adulthood, leading to medical issues, or a broad range of psychological issues – including depression, PTSD, social disabilities, and more. By providing positive, solution-based programming to parents of young children, we can empower families and prevent these effects from reaching the next generation.