SCAN Responds To Recent Alleged Child Abuse Injuries And Deaths

By Maureen Mespell

SCAN Responds To Recent Alleged Child Abuse Injuries And Deaths

December 21, 2010 Updated Dec 21, 2010 at 11:22 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) -- The holidays can be a stressful time for most all families. For parents who are struggling with money issues, loss of housing, lack of supportive family and friends or a mental health crisis, parenting can feel like the dark tunnel with no visible light.

The recent multiple cases of child deaths and serious injuries allegedly due to abuse are tragic reminders that not all children who live in our neighborhoods, who attend school with our children or who stand next to us in the grocery checkout line are growing up in stable, safe homes.

“People in America are raised to think they should be able to do it all themselves when it comes to parenting, but stress, which occurs any time of year, is usually the match that ignites a parent to abuse a child. It’s that ‘one more thing’ that ignites a fury,” said Rachel Tobin-Smith, executive director of SCAN Inc., whose sole mission is to prevent child abuse and neglect.

It is normal for children to cry, be hungry, need rest and sleep and yes, even whine and fuss when they don’t get what they want, Tobin-Smith says. Young children do not understand that mom is stressed over the mounting bills or why they have to move so many times or why dad is turning to alcohol or drugs to cope.

“Crying and fussing are just normal ways children respond to unmet needs, but those behaviors to the stressed-out parent are magnified and taken out of context. The parent snaps – and the child is the victim,” Tobin-smith says.

“The sign of good parenting is being willing to ask for help. Daybreak Crisis Homes, a program of SCAN, is here to give that help.” SCAN provides programs and services in Allen and eight other northeast Indiana counties through the Network for Safe Families and in four additional northern counties through the Community Partners for Safe Families.

Daybreak offers emergency respite care and housing for infants and children through age 12 at no cost. We will help get your children settled into the home of a Daybreak licensed foster parent for up to seven days. During those seven days, we work with many community agencies to help parents sort out their needs and what has led to this crisis point, whether it is because of lack of housing, utility cut-off or just because of feeling overwhelmed with parenting responsibilities.

Daybreak is preventive care for children whose parents love them but who need that light in the dark tunnel. Loving Daybreak providers stand in the gap for parents who realize they are at the breaking point and don’t know what to do or where to turn. It takes strength, wisdom and a desire to do what’s best for their child for parents to make the call, but Daybreak is ready to help. Don’t hesitate. Call 421-5004 before there are any regrets, any injuries…or worse. There is hope. There is a better way.

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