Takes steps to prevent child abuse and neglect

Gov. Gary Locke has proclaimed April 2004 as Child Abuse Prevention Month to encourage Washington residents to watch out for children and help keep them safe from harm.

The arrest of a foster parent in Pierce County on charges of molesting children in his care and an assault charge against a Spokane child care provider serve as reminders that Washington residents must be constantly on the alert for the signs of abuse - and quick to report them.

Here are two important steps for preventing child abuse and neglect:

€ Know the signs

Unexplained injuries aren't the only signs of abuse. Depression, fear of a certain adult, difficulty trusting others or making friends, sudden changes in eating or sleeping patterns, inappropriate sexual behavior, poor hygiene, secrecy and hostility are often signs of family problems and may indicate a child is being neglected or physically, sexually, or emotionally abused.

€ Report your suspicions

In Washington state, anyone can make the call that will save a life. To make it easy for the public to report suspected abuse or neglect of a child or a vulnerable adult, there is a toll-free hotline: 1-866-ENDHARM (1-866-363-4276).

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