We go about our daily lives dealing with our own successes and tragedies until something awakens our collective consciousness.Then we rally around that event as a whole until the our own world demands attention from us or a new, bigger situation comes on the scene.
The death of a little boy up in the Salt Lake area as the month of April drew to an end is one of those things that have touched many people around our state as well as the country. Ironically the death occurred at the end of Child Abuse Prevention Month.
For me, there were several parallels in what happened to Ethan Stacy and an incident our family was involved in. Enough things were different and so was our outcome. I also spent nine years as the director of the Family Support and Children's Justice Center before leaving to start a new career as an artist and writer.
Just listening to the reports of what put this child in the situation he was is that resulted in his death, I cannot jump up and point out exactly where the system we have in place to protect this child broke down.
But I can tell you this, at this moment, as you read this, as you may be preparing to go to the balloon release in his memorial, there are children here in Price going through neglect and abuse. This moment!
If we truly want the death of this little boy we never knew to have meaning, then we need to take this emotion we have and make sure we are using it to find ways to eliminate child abuse in our community.
The answers are not quick. It does not just involve more DCFS workers, although that will be a piece. It involves making sure we are helping families from the ground up.
We need to fund programs that have demonstrated success for long term change. Programs like drug court, the Lighthouse, the Family Support Center and Pro-care are examples of things that work in our community to strengthen families. But often these programs face budget shortfalls and are first in line for cuts when state funding is tight.
This occurs in communities all over the state as well. Time after time we hear about a program that has success in reaching out to families facing closure from lack of funding.
Our country is going through a backlash against big government. But that means we need to step up as individuals and write those checks to the causes we hold dear to our hearts.
I hope and pray that this one little boy with the crooked grin and the glasses will be the catalyst for each of you to continue to care long after the emotion of his brutal death fades. I hope it helps to get you involved.
Lets fight for all the Ethans and Katies and Billys and Briannas we can. I challenge each of you to find a program in this community you feel is an asset to families and get behind its success.
Volunteer, donate and advocate on behalf of it. Be the piece of the solution and save a child.