April is 'Child Abuse Awareness' Month

 Springfield - Despite being surrounded by children's drawings that painted a story of love, George H. Sheldon, the acting director of the Department of Children and Family Services shared a darker side of the lives of many children in Illinois at the Capitol on Wednesday.

"On average, we lose a child to abuse and neglect every three days.  The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services receives and acts upon a report of child abuse and neglect every five minutes," Sheldon shared with supporters raising awareness for April's 'Child Abuse Awareness' month.

Sometimes, those reports that Sheldon spoke of come too late.

Sometimes, they came at the cost of a child's life.

"I picture him up in the clouds.  I miss my brother so.  He should be here to play with me, I wish he didn't go," said 11 year-old Valerie Eyer.

Eyer's brother was killed by his abuser.  She said that by sharing his and her stories, she hoped people can learn how to prevent and stop child abuse.

"My own private story sometimes hurts to remember.  It gives hope to people who are hurting.  I want to help kids understand that they are not alone.  I also want people to know that every child counts," added Eyer.

Despite being 11, Eyer helped write a book to share both her and her brother's story, one that could help change the lives of many abuse victims.

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