Polishing Off Child Abuse

Posted on Mar 31st 2017 by Tony Jenkins

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This morning, I joined Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Mike Carroll and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer in an effort to raise awareness about the child abuse epidemic in our country. Tragically, 1 in 5 children in the U.S. will experience physical, psychological or sexual abuse before the age of 18.

Violence against children in any form is unacceptable, yet nearly 5 children die every day as a result of child abuse or neglect.  This is a national health crisis, but it’s a preventable one.  

Awareness is the first step toward prevention. Become familiar with the signs of child abuse. Some of the signs include:

  • Unexplained burns and bruises
  • Antisocial behavior
  • Depression
  • Dirty or unbathed
  • Hostility or aggression
  • Eating Disorders
  • Over-compliance
  • Nightmares
  • Fear of a particular person
  • Bed wetting
  • Inappropriate knowledge of sexual acts
  • Unsuitable clothing

If you suspect a child is the victim of abuse, please call the National Child Abuse Hotline at 800-422-4453 to report it.

There also are several ways you can be a supportive part of your community and help families find the strength they need to raise safe, healthy and productive children.

  • Get to know your neighbors. Problems seem less overwhelming when support is nearby.
  • Support a family under stress. Offer to babysit, help with chores and errands or suggest resources in the community that can help.
  • Reach out to children in your community. A smile or a word of encouragement can mean a lot.
  • Be an active community member. Lend a hand at local schools, community- or faith-based organizations, children’s hospitals, social service agencies or other places where families and children are supported.
  • Keep your neighborhood safe. Start a Neighborhood Watch or plan a local “National Night Out” community event. You will get to know your neighbors while helping to keep your neighborhood and children safe.

One of the ways I’m starting a dialogue about child abuse is participating in the MANicure Movement with Community Based Care of Central Florida. You’ll see me sporting one blue fingernail as part of National Child Abuse Prevention Month in April. It represents the 1 in 5 children who will experience abuse. It is an excellent opportunity for me to start conversations with those I meet in the community about education and prevention.

You can join me in the MANicure Movement or find your own way to educate your friends and family about how we can help prevent child abuse.

At Florida Blue, our mission is to help people and communities achieve better health, and we can all agree the safety and well-being of our children is essential to a healthy community. Please join me in working to put an end to the abuse.

Filed under: Community  

Tony Jenkins

Tony is the Market President for the Central Florida Region of Florida Blue. Prior to BCBSF, Jenkins served as Director of Diversity for CSX Corporation, the largest rail network in the eastern United States. Before joining CSX, Jenkins spent 20 years with the Walt Disney World Company in various management roles. Tony is very active in the Orlando Community. He is the past Chair for United Arts of Central Florida and the current board Chair for Florida Institute for Community Studies. He also currently serves on the Boards of The Central Florida Partnership, Orlando Economic Development Commission, Florida Citrus Sports, the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness and he is a Board Trustee at Stetson University. In January, 2014, Tony was appointed by Governor Rick Scott to serve on the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR). He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Hospitality Management from Morris Brown College in Atlanta, GA.

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