Every Shoe Tells a Story
The numbers are daunting: 676,569 children in the United States were victims of child abuse and neglect in 2011 according to the Children’s Bureau of the US Department of Health and Human Services.1
It can be difficult to grasp the reality of those numbers. It may help to think about the statistic differently—as 9.1 victims per 1,000 children. Can you better imagine what that means in terms of the number of children in your community who are abused and neglected each year?
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, one organization hopes to make more meaningful their county’s statistics—1,068 confirmed cases of child abuse and neglect annually—by hanging 1,068 pairs of old children’s shoes in the rotunda of Milwaukee’s City Hall. Both the display and a ceremony to be held in the rotunda tomorrow, April 16, commemorate Child Abuse Prevention Month.
The display was created by the Parent Ambassador program of the Next Door Foundation, an education and social service center that works with Milwaukee children and families to help build the educational and life skills they need to succeed
“Our parents are committed to making sure people know the impact of abuse and neglect on our community,” said Carol Keintz, Next Door’s executive director. “Creating this display brings the point home in a powerful way. Every shoe really does tell a story.”
The shoe project is part of a new initiative for parents at Next Door. The Parent Ambassador program trains parents of the children involved in Next Door, including those enrolled in their Head Start Charter School, to be advocates for their children and their community. The parents donated their children’s outgrown shoes, which will be recycled at the end of April.
The ceremony, scheduled for 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. tomorrow, will feature survivors of child abuse telling their stories and children’s artwork. It is one of many events being held through the United States during the month of April to bring public awareness to the issues of child abuse and neglect.
The National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD) believes that every child deserves to be safe and supported at home in the community. To that end, NCCD works with families and child welfare agencies to help protect children from abuse and neglect.
Debra Illingworth Greene is an Editor at NCCD.
1 US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau. (2012). Child maltreatment 2011. Available from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/research-data-technology/statistics-…