Good Sunday morning, everyone! We are asking individuals in Danville and surrounding communities to help us determine what our focus should be in the coming years.

We want to know what we are doing right and what needs are not being met. If you would like to help us, giving us your thoughts, let me know and I will send you a survey.

One question that we ask on the survey, is “What do you think are the biggest problems impacting the overall health of our communities?”

Although there are several options to choose from one of the most popular answers is Child Abuse or Neglect.

After hearing recently on the news that the number of kids in our area schools that are known to be homeless is more than 400, it isn’t surprising. Those are the kids that the schools have identified but we know there are kids that do a good job of hiding it, too.

So, what defines child neglect?

Child neglect occurs when children’s basic needs are not adequately met, resulting in actual or potential harm. Basic needs include adequate food, clothing, education, health care, nurturing and emotional support and housing.

Unlike physical or sexual abuse, that are often identified by specific, discrete acts, neglect is usually an ongoing pattern of a child’s needs not being adequately met.

There are different types of neglect, physical neglect, emotional neglect and medical neglect. Physical neglect is when a child’s need for adequate food, clothing, supervision, housing or protection from the environment is not adequately met.

Emotional neglect is when a child does not receive adequate emotional support, care or affection.

Medical neglect is when a child does not receive adequate medical, mental or dental health care.

Child neglect often occurs when parents are overwhelmed. That can be from coping with poverty, single parenthood, limited parenting skills, depression, substance abuse and more. There is no single cause for the neglect. But the impact of neglect, on a child, can be very serious and perhaps lifelong.

As a society, we have a collective responsibility to prevent children from experiencing neglect. One way you can help us fight this battle is to donate to this year’s local United Way Campaign. Together, united we can be the change our children, families and our communities need.

Give. Advocate. Volunteer. Live United.

Sherri M. Askren is president of United Way of Danville Area, Inc., 28 W. North St., Danville, IL 61832. Phone: 442-3512

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