'Everyone has to take part and be the eyes and ears for the children'

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - A report by the Child Welfare League of America reveals that 1,664 Idaho children were victims of abuse or neglect in 2012.

Neglect is the most common form of child mistreatment in our state followed by physical and sexual abuse.

National studies show that nearly 80 percent of children who die from abuse or neglect are killed by a parent acting alone or with someone else. It is this kind of information that has prompted organizations all over the county to band together every April to raise awareness about this important issue.

Child advocates say it is up to the entire community to keep its children safe.

"Everyone has to take part and be the eyes and ears for the children," says Idaho Health and Welfare spokesman, Tom Shanahan. "The chances of a social worker uncovering abuse of their own are pretty small but if they're alerted, they can do good."

Shanahan says there is the misconception that the department will remove children immediately from their homes if abuse is suspected - but that is not the case. "We want to provide a service to help parents better cope with what's going on their lives and address those issues," Shanahan said.

The good news - there is support for parents and families is available through the state, local hospitals, non-profits and churches. For more information, call the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare or Idaho Care Line at 1-800-926-2588.

Signs of Neglect

  • Extremely dirty clothing
  • Not dressed for the weather
  • Weight loss and complaints of hunger
  • Falling asleep in class
  • Lack of supervision

Signs of Abuse

  • Sudden changes in behavior or school work
  • Changes in eating and sleeping patterns
  • Untreated physical and medical problems
  • Unexplained cuts, bruises and burns
  • Comes to school early and stays late

How to Report Child Abuse:

Treasure Valley: 334-KIDS (5437)
Statewide: 1-855-552-KIDS (5437)

To find out what happens when you call to report suspected abuse: