U.S. Winning War on Child Abuse

Once a week, every week, 19-year-old single parent Antoinette Franklin gets counseling to help her learn to be a better mom to 3-month-old Amia.

"You know it helps you so that you won't get frustrated and want to, you know, lead to the abuse as far as mentally, physically ot anything," Antoinette told CBS News correspondent Cynthia Bowers.

Programs such as one at Chicago's Near North Health Service may play a role in dramatically reducing child abuse from 1993 to 2005.

A federal study found a 38 percent decline in child sex abuse, a 27 percent decrease in emotional abuse, and a 15 percent drop in physical abuse.

Child advocate David Finkelhor credits what he calls a "troop surge" in the war on child abuse in the 90s.

"There were lots of child protection workers, there were new law enforcement agents, there were specialized domestic violence prevention groups," he said. "There were prosecutors who were detailed to prosecute child molesters."

Add to that a barrage of public service announcements that further heightened public awareness.

While child care advocates celebrate success, they caution the report was done during a relatively prosperous time in this country and recessions tend to trigger more family stress and cutbacks in the very programs that provide critical support.

"It would be easy during these economic times to forget that must be a continuing investment and that it's not over," said Jim Hmurovich, president of Prevent Child Abuse America.

Antoinette says thanks to the help she's getting, she plans to get a nursing degree.

She says, "I want to give my baby what I never had."

Financial, emotional and physical security.
  • Cynthia Bowers

Comments

CBSN Live

pop-out
Live Video

Follow Us

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.

On Twitter