Child abuse and neglect is on the rise in Arizona: in 2013, there were more than 22,000 reports of child abuse and neglect in a six-month period of time, up from 16,000 in 2009. Despite this increase, child abuse is completely preventable. As of June 30, 2015, the backlog of child welfare cases sits at 14,946 and there is estimated to be 52,000 new child welfare cases in the next year.
While other states are investing in prevention programs to address this issue before it starts, Arizona’s system focuses on remediation, with more than 18,000 children in foster care across the state.
That’s why ACS is helping Prevent Child Abuse Arizona (PCA Arizona) to shift the public conversation about child maltreatment so prevention is prioritized as the lead strategy in the child safety system in Arizona.
As part of this effort, ACS helped PCA Arizona develop resonant messaging to clearly and consistently communicate the value and importance of child abuse prevention. ACS also equipped PCA Arizona with the tools and resources they need to become a key player and trusted source of information to the media on issues of child abuse and neglect, and the impact of child abuse prevention. Just last week the Daily Courier published a Letter to the Editor by PCA Arizona Executive Director Becky Ruffner calling for the state of Arizona to invest in evidence-based prevention programming to reduce the number of cases of child abuse across the state.
Much is at stake; and PCA Arizona’s strong communication effort aims to make a huge impact on child safety.