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'See something, say something': San Antonio nonprofits amplifying message to combat child abuse and neglect

KJ's Angels and Eagles Flight Advocacy and Outreach are among the San Antonio-area organizations makin strides toward curbing child abuse.

SAN ANTONIO — April marks National Child Abuse Prevention Month, which has multiple Alamo City nonprofits stepping up their efforts to educate neighbors about the seriousness of crimes against children.

“Child abuse has become an epidemic – a pandemic, to say the least – of recurrent abuse happening to our children in the community,” said Jasmine Anderson, founder and executive director of KJ’s Angels, an organization that advocates for child abuse victims and their families.

The domestic darkness of what’s happening behind closed doors is something Anderson says comes with a deadly statistic.

“Four children die from abuse and neglect every week. That’s four children in seven days," she said. "Imagine what a year looks like."

The high-profile case of missing 19-month-old James Chairez is riddled with elements of child neglect and abuse, according to Anderson.

James's mother, accused in the infant's disappearance, remains in jail, charged with abandoning or endangering a child. Family members say that, at one point, the mother intended to put him up for adoption.

“There have been reports that the home that James was living in was very, very disorganized and it was a mess. The state of the home...gives us insight into the abuse that may have been happening, the neglect that may have been happening,” Anderson said.

It’s stories like the one of missing baby James that keep Pamela Allen, founder of Eagles Flight Advocacy and Outreach, motivated to keep fighting for the cause. Allen says the pandemic may have increased how often abuse happens.

“This is a very hard time for us. COVID has isolated so many and we’re looking at the need that we need to impact our children,” Allen said.

Spreading awareness via local fundraisers is just one way of keeping the topic of child abuse and neglect at the forefront of community conversation.

Allen has voiced support for an updated version of Texas’s Baby Moses law, which allows parents to drop off their unwanted babies at a designated location such as a hospital, fire or police station.

“What we’ve been just crusading for is that our law gets amended and that we’re able to start protecting children up to 12 months old,” Allen said.

But she stressed it’s ultimately up to the community to pay attention and do what’s necessary to help curb crimes against children.

“We’re hoping to raise that awareness, to make sure that our families understand if you see something, say something,” Allen said.

To learn more about KJ’s Angels, click here. To learn more about Eagles Flight Advocacy and Outreach, click here.

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