On August 10, 2017, Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) and local law enforcement and first responders honored Officer Jody Thompson of Oklahoma’s Poteau Police Department and his family for their stand against child abuse. Officer Thompson and his family came to Clearwater to be honored and meet Winter the dolphin.
The Story of Officer Jody Thompson and John
Two years ago Officer Thompson made national news when he rescued an eight-year-old boy named John from severe abuse. Officer Thompson stayed with John all night at the hospital after saving him from the horrific scene. Officer Thompson and his wife decided to adopt John into their family. Months later, John’s biological mother had a baby girl in prison and the Thompson family adopted her into their family so she could be raised with her biological brother.
If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse, please call the national hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD.
If you are a Florida resident, call 1-800-96-ABUSE.
What can you do if you suspect a child is being abused?
It is important to report concerns if you suspect a child is being harmed. You can report your concerns to your state child welfare authorities and a trained professional will determine the help and services needed. The Child Welfare Information Gateway provides a list of numbers and information found here: State child abuse and neglect reporting numbers .
Statistics from the National Children’s Alliance
- Nearly 700,000 children are abused in the U.S annually.
- CPS protects more than 3 million children.
- The youngest children were most vulnerable to maltreatment.
- Neglect is the most common form of maltreatment.
- About four out of five abusers are the victims’ parents.
Statistics from Childhelp
- Every year more than 3.6 million referrals are made to child protection agencies involving more than 6.6 million children (a referral can include multiple children).
- The United States has one of the worst records among industrialized nations – losing on average between four and seven children every day to child abuse and neglect.
- A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds.
- Yearly, referrals to state child protective services involve 6.6 million children, and around 3.2 million of those children are subject to an investigated report.
Angels Against Abuse
Clearwater Marine Aquarium is partnered with Angels Against Abuse, a local non-profit that educates the community on potential abuse and supports abused and neglected children in the community. CMA recently designed themed rooms and hallways at the facility.
Please consider making a charitable donation to Angels Against Abuse.