What is the definition of child neglect? According to Montgomery County Child Protective Services (CPS), neglect is "the chronic failure of a parent, caretaker, household or family member to provide a child under 18 basic needs of life, such as: food, clothing, shelter, medical care, attention to hygiene, educational opportunity, protection and supervision.” CPS then adds the following: “Cultural standards which differ from those of most of the community are not necessarily neglect."
The basic definition is indisputable; however, there is a lot of confusion about specifics. When can a child be left home unattended? For how long? At what age can a child babysit for another child? When is it safe to allow a child/children to walk in public alone?
All of these questions require that you know your child and evaluate his or her readiness, but there are also laws governing child safety. Maryland State law requires that:
A child must be 8 years old before being left home alone.
Children 8-12 years old should not be left alone for more than a brief period, unless they have a support system set up.
At the age of 13 a child can care for another child for brief periods.
What about the issue of allowing children to walk alone? This has been a hot topic in the news recently. We believe such a decision is an important one for parents to make, and there are many factors that you, as a parent, should consider when allowing your child to be outside alone. Factors like:
Traffic and highway exposure (especially for younger children).
Have you discussed a plan with your child for what to do when an unknown adult approaches?
Can your child be assertive and seek help in the event that something happens to scare or upset him/her?
Know your child's developmental level. For example, younger children are more likely to be influenced by the suggestions or direction of an adult, even if the adult is a stranger. For older children, parents should know their child's ability to resist the unwanted influence or suggestions of an adult.
In the meantime, remember that you and your family are not alone. There are many children out there, some of whom may need your help. What should you do if you see a child exhibiting the following signs*?
Clothes are ill-fitting, filthy, or inappropriate for the weather.
Hygiene is consistently bad (unbathed, matted and unwashed hair, noticeable body odor).
Untreated illnesses and physical injuries.
Is frequently unsupervised or left alone or allowed to play in unsafe situations and environments.
Is frequently late or missing from school.
Take action! It is always better to err on the side of caution, it could save a child’s life. Montgomery County residents can learn more about reporting child abuse and neglect here. If you are not in Montgomery County, click here for more information about how to contact your local or state child protective service agency, or your neighborhood police precinct.
We all want children to be happy, healthy, and thrive. We want them to grow up in an optimistic atmosphere and become strong, independent adults who contribute to society in a positive manner. Together, as parents and as a community we can keep our children safe and, at the same time, encourage the autonomy they will need in the future. You can find more information regarding Maryland law and common sense approaches at http://treehousemd.org/news/new-laws-and-regulations .
On February 19th, family and friends of Det. Rebecca Toner gathered at The Tree House as the medical suite was dedicated to Det. Toner. Now named "Rebecca's Room," our medical suite will be a daily reminder of her commitment to abused and neglected children. We hope this room will bring comfort to the Toner family and healing to the children we see at The Tree House.
To donate to The Tree House in Det. Toner's name, click here.
We send a huge thank you to The Nancy Peery Marriott Foundation for its $5,000 grant to The Tree House. The Nancy Peery Marriott Foundation supports the arts, education and human services and has been a loyal supporter of ours for many years. Having this continuous help is vital to our efforts to treat and heal child victims of abuse.
The Rotary Club of Rockville, in cooperation with The Tree House, is putting on this fabulous, fun, and free event for children. Don't worry about signing up, just show up! Bring a book if you want to participate in the book exchange. We hope to see you there!
Title Boxing Club is holding a Self-Defense & Awareness Class and is donating the proceeds to The Tree House! The class is on March 10th from 6-7:15 at Title Boxing Club in Rockville. For more information about the class and pricing click here. You can RSVP at Tree.House.Fundraiser.Titlebox@gmail.com.
We thank Kappa Delta for hosting this wonderful event!
The Montgomery County Alumnae Chapter of Kappa Delta hosted a Shamrock Event at The Winery at Olneyon February 15th to raise money for The Tree House. While the temperature outside was subzero, inside there were many warm hearts.
Are you missing these great events that benefit The Tree House? From classes to great sales to relaxing evenings with friends, there is truly is something for everyone! For that, we can thank our friends throughout the community who are the event creators and hosts. Be sure to check here periodically and see what's going on near you!
We are so excited about this year's Tree House Tour de Cookie. Ridership is up 150% compared to the same time last year, our Community Expo is growing, and we only have a couple more cookie stand slots to fill. We are currently looking for entertainers, caricaturists, and facepainting volunteers to help make the day complete. If you, or someone you know, might be interested, let us know at email@example.com or go here.
We are in great need of volunteers to help us put up posters and distribute event cards. If you'd like to give us a hand please click here to volunteer. And don't forget to join our Facebook event page and invite your friends! If you have any questions about the event go to treehousetourdecookie.com.
Help us spread the word about The Tree House. Forward this newsletter to a few friends!
Support The Tree House
You can help us provide mental health, medical, victim advocacy and other services to abused and neglected children in Montgomery County. All it takes is a small donation.
We are in desperate and immediate need of donations to put toward transportation costs! Please help us get children to the services they need.