Taking the Next Step
Stories involving the tragic loss of a child, including Maleah Davis, can leave us all feeling helpless. If you are reading this, know that you can make a difference. That there are steps you can take to keep a child safe, whether you’re desperate to help or need help yourself.
For many of us, knowing where to start is often the hardest part. Below, we offer some resources and information that we hope will be of help to you as you consider the steps you can take to help save a child. Together, we can turn grief and sadness into action and results for our children in crisis, creating brighter futures.
Be a voice for the unheard by recognizing the signs and symptoms of the four types of abuse: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglect. To learn more, visit the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services website at www.dfps.state.tx.us/Child_Protection/Child_Safety/recognize_abuse.asp.
If you see signs of child abuse or neglect, report it immediately. In 2018, there were 45 child abuse and neglect fatalities in Harris County alone. Across Texas, more than 211 children died due to abuse and neglect.
•Call the Texas Abuse Hotline at 1-800-252-5400 for investigation with 24 hours
•Call 911 or your local law enforcement for emergency or life-threating situations
If you are a parent or family in crisis, reach out to us for helpful information. When circumstances get bad, there are places you can turn to, at no cost, to keep your children out of harm’s way. Safe, loving family environments where children get the resources, education and support they need, until they can return home again.
If you or your family need support to keep your children healthy and safe, visit the Help for Parents and Hope for Children website at www.helpandhope.org for information on the resources available, from food, clothing and housing assistance to jobs and childcare to legal assistance.
As we reflect on tragic losses of life in the news like Maleah’s, remember that you can still make a difference in the lives of others. Preventing the next tragedy starts with awareness. The more we know about the resources and opportunities available to support and protect our children, the more lives we can save.
For more information, or if you’re interested in advocating for and intervening in the lives of children who are in danger, contact us at todaysharborforchildren.org/get-involved.
Brenda Contreras is the Campus Life Director at Today’s Harbor for Children, a residential community for abused and neglected children in La Porte, Texas, that is changing lives and futures. The organization takes in private placement children and those coming from CPS, serving as child advocates and providing a crucial safe harbor for children in crisis.