At the heart of child maltreatment prevention is the idea that we can reduce the number of occurrences by tracking the source and stopping it before it happens. With the information presented in our two new titles, this can be accomplished by hard-working professionals who intend to reduce the rate of abuse, neglect, and maltreatment. This anecdote, featured in volume 1, details how this can happen:
A woman was walking along the bank of a swiftly flowing river. She looked out over the river, and much to her surprise, she saw a small child floating in the water. The child was splashing and thrashing about, trying to keep her head above the water. The child was drowning!
The woman did what anyone would do—she tore off her shoes and dove into the water to rescue the child. The water was very cold, the current swift and strong. The woman was not sure she could even make it to the child, but she was determined to try. After much effort, she reached the child and swam safely back to shore.
Once she arrived at the shore, the woman looked back at the river and realized that more children were floating downstream! Surely she could not let them drown. She dove into the water again. The water felt even colder, and the current stronger than it was before. It was a great struggle to reach these children in time.
When she reached the shore again, she looked back over her shoulder to see more children floating down the river! The woman knew that she alone could not save the children, so she called for help. Others came and helped. They realized what
was happening and organized a system for retrieving and reviving the children.
Some of the adults dove into the water to rescue the children, while others stayed on shore to comfort the children and help them to safety. No matter how many times they jumped into the water, more children kept floating downstream.
Suddenly, the woman had a thought. She climbed out of the water and began to walk purposefully upstream. “Wait! Where are you going?” the other adults cried in alarm. “You can’t leave us now. There are too many children who need our help if they are to be saved.”
The woman replied, “Someone or something is causing these children to fall into the river. We could be here for years pulling them from the water. I am going to walk upstream until I find out what is causing these children to fall in and see if I can do something to stop it!” Her idea made a lot of sense.
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