Partners Observe National Child Abuse Prevention Month
BALA CYNWYD, Pa. and McMURRAY, Pa., April 12, 2021 — Connect America, a nationally recognized provider of connected health solutions, and Watchful Shepherd USA, a national non-profit family abuse prevention program, are reminding Americans during National Child Abuse Prevention Month that tools and resources are available to help protect children living in at-risk environments.
The statistics are disturbing, the scope of the problem a national disgrace. Data from the National Children’s Alliance shows:
- Nearly 700,000 children were reported to have been victims of abuse or neglect in 2018 (the most recent year for which there is national data)
- An estimated 1,770 children died from abuse and neglect in the U.S. that year
- Children in the first year of their life had the highest rate of victimization of (2.7%) relative to children of other ages
- 61% of victims were neglected, more than 10% were physically abused, and 7% were sexually abused
- More than 15% of kids suffered two or more forms of abuse
“Children in abusive environments are especially vulnerable when the adults they are living with are under stress from economic and legal problems, substance abuse, or physical and mental health issues,” said Tracy Walnoha, executive director of Watchful Shepherd. “The shutdowns and isolation resulting from the pandemic have exacerbated these challenges and led to an uptick in child abuse. We think it’s important that people and organizations know there are ways to protect children.”
Connect America is helping Watchful Shepherd fulfill its mission by providing the organization with special alert systems comprised of electronic monitors and wrist bands that can be distributed to at-risk families and child victims. Should a crisis arise, users can quickly and easily send for help and automatically begin recording audio with the touch of a button. The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This system was adapted from Connect America’s Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) developed for older adults.
“We recognized that the technology we designed for elderly people in emergencies easily could be adapted for use by children facing emergencies of their own,” said Janet Dillione, chief executive officer of Connect America. “Partnering with Watchful Shepherd on this project has been an honor and we look forward to continuing our relationship.”
April was designated National Child Abuse Prevention Month in 1983 to focus attention on child abuse and neglect and recognize the importance of families, communities and prevention services collaborating to safeguard vulnerable children. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has set up a website with resources and information on protective factors, conversation guides, and data.
About Connect America
Headquartered in Bala Cynwyd, Pa. Connect America is a leading provider of connected health solutions dedicated to improving access to care, safety, independence, and quality of life. Its growing portfolio of medical alert systems, remote patient monitoring, and medication management solutions help bridge the gap between individuals and their health partners, providing a more connected health experience. Connect America is proud to offer innovative healthcare technologies that help improve the lives of those they serve. For more than 35 years, the company has been delivering value-based solutions committed to quality care, improved health outcomes, increased patient satisfaction, and reduced costs. Its mission is to ensure that every individual, patient, and provider have access to the life-saving benefits of receiving the right care at the right time.
About Watchful Shepherd
Watchful Shepherd USA is a national non-profit family abuse prevention program. Headquartered in McMurray, Pa., Watchful Shepherd provides electronic alarm systems that allow abused and neglected children to summon local emergency response at the press of a button at the threat of violence. This service is provided free of charge to family support agencies. All program costs are underwritten by donations and other fundraising efforts. Watchful Shepherd helps keep families together while they receive other in-home counseling support based on agency recommendations. Our approach is significantly more cost effective than the $50,000+ annual rate for foster care or other placements. For more information, visit watchful.org.