Remembrance day for dead children

untitled-(9-of-12)Every April, the tombstones come out, blue wooden markers for boys and pink for girls.

That is because it is Child Abuse Prevention Month. The tombstones that mark local children killed by abuse or neglect go with Operation Breakthrough’s Day of Remembrance ceremony.

On Monday, the grim wooden markers were displayed on the second floor of the downtown Jackson County Courthouse.

“Those tombstones represent kids who could have made this community a better place,” said Sister Berta Sailer, co-founder of Operation Breakthrough.

Jackson County Sheriff Mike Sharp said: “It’s up to us to be the voices of kids who can’t talk – make that call if you see something that’s not right.”

He noted that Jackson County leads the state in child abuse and neglect.

State officials cited 7,563 child abuse/neglect incidents in the county between July 1, 2013 and June 30,2014 – more than any other Missouri county and a 6.7 percent Jackson County increase over the previous year.

Nationwide, according to a media release, there are about 3 million cases of abuse reported in a year that involve more than 6 million children.

Abuse claims an average of five child lives a day and an estimated 80 percent of children who die are less than 4 years old.

Sailer noted that parents are often responsible for  the abuse, stressed parents with a lot of issues.

She said cutbacks being considered by Missouri legislators would eliminate food stamps for about 3,000 families and 6,000 children, adding to family stress and possibly abuse statistics.

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