Fighting Neglect, Abuse of Children

Scores of people from throughout the state participated in a conference this week in Charleston, on the subject of helping children who live in dangerous home environments.

Law enforcement officers, social service providers, prosecuting attorneys, physical and mental health care providers and “other professionals who respond to children involved in such matters” were to attend, according to The Associated Press.

The conference clearly was intended to deal with how to react to situations in which children are in danger, of course. But one group of professionals – the people who most often spot child neglect and abuse and try to do something about it – have invaluable insights to offer.

They are school teachers, of course. They are the men and women who see malnourished children in classrooms and try to get them food. They are the caring educators who dig into their own pockets to buy clothing for needy youngsters.

And they are the heart-broken public servants who see bruises day in and day out on children and report their concerns to the authorities. Teachers are, in short, the front line against child neglect and abuse.

Too often, as too many teachers will attest, effective steps are not taken to deal with the alarm bells they ring.

That needs to change. If those involved in this week’s conference want to adopt a realistic approach to combatting child abuse and neglect, they will include representatives of the teaching profession in their campaign.