Reports of child abuse and neglect in Kentucky have increased by about 55 percent in the past four years. A child is at higher risk for developing a substance abuse problem is they’ve suffered from an adverse childhood experience. That can be the death or incarceration of a parent, witnessing or being a victim of violence, or living with someone who has a drug or alcohol problem.
Pam Darnall is CEO of Family and Children’s Place. She said some organizations that support children and families are struggling just to stay in business.
“Services that help kids who’ve been hurt by abuse or even help prevent that, the resources for many of those services across our state are dwindling, every day,” Darnall said.
Darnall said children especially need to be supported in their first few year of life if the economy in Kentucky is going to thrive. She said there’s a return of up to 17 dollars for every dollar invested in early childhood education or intervention.
She said it’s important for children who have experienced trauma to be connected to a caring adult. Darnall said that lessens some of the negative impacts on cognitive development, and helps the child become more resilient.
“And I think we’re challenged when so many of our adults, many of them who are parents, are becoming addicted to drugs and they can’t care for themselves let alone their kids,” Darnall said.
According to a recent report from The National Survey of Children’s Health, about 53 percent of children in Kentucky have had at least one Adverse Childhood Experience.