Child Abuse Prevention Services awarded Agency of the Year by United Way

By WVUA 23 News Reporter Avery Boyce

The United Way of West Alabama awarded Child Abuse Prevention Services with the Homer S. Butler Jr. Agency of the Year Award.

CAPS opened its doors in 1977 and since then, has been educating students and the community about child abuse. CAPS Executive Director Lisa Maddox said it is an honor to be recognized for their accomplishments.

The nonprofit offers two programs for students. One program helps students understand their own emotional and social needs and the other educates kids about sexual abuse.

Schools, businesses, churches and other organizations can reach out to CAPS and request a program be taught at their business or event.

Maddox said it’s an issue people should be aware of.

“People should know that abuse happens every day, and sometimes we turn a blind eye to it. It may be happening in our family, or to our neighbor,” Maddox said. “People might say that’s not my business, but we need to report it for the child.”

Maddox said emotional support goes under reported and under recognized the most because there’s no physical evidence, but it’s just as devastating to a child’s well-being.

Emotional abuse can present itself as talking hatefully, calling someone names like “stupid, dumb” and other derogatory words while emotional abuse can also be a lack of love.

“If you never get a hug from somebody, emotionally, think about how that hurts if you never get that love from a parent,” Maddox said.

Neglect can also present itself in ways that people might not realize such as leaving your child in the car, even if you are just running into a store for five minutes.

Maddox shared signs to look for that can indicate a child is experiencing abuse:

  • A change in emotions not typical for that child
  • Nervous around certain body movements/gestures
  • Exhibiting age inappropriate behaviors
  • Unexplainable markings on the child

“As a society and a community we need to step up and be an advocate for our children. If we think – or if we know something is happening we need to report it,” Maddox said.

CAPS also provides parenting classes and provides mothers in need with items for their children.

If you would like to donate to CAPS, schedule a class, or need these resources  click on this link or call 205-758-1159.

Categories: Local News