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Increase In Child Abuse Reports

April 17, 2014, 6:23 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

Increase In Child Abuse Reports
Henry Johnson

SIOUX FALLS, SD -

A KELOLAND mom is spreading awareness about child abuse after her son suffered from shaken baby syndrome.

This comes as more children are being evaluated for child abuse and neglect in the Sioux Falls area.  Child's Voice has seen a 36 percent increase in the last three years.

Six-year-old Henry Johnson loves to sing and is full of energy, but the Aberdeen boy's life has turned out much different than his mother had expected.

"It has been a long road," Henry's mother, Marissa Johnson, said.

Marissa says when her husband picked Henry up from day care when he was around six months old, they knew something was terribly wrong.

"He was limp and lethargic and whimpering," Marissa said.

Doctors diagnosed Henry with shaken baby syndrome.

"We were just in disbelief. Nobody thinks it could happen to them, and it was difficult," Marissa said.

But Henry's family is now moving forward and hopes to prevent future child abuse cases through a run.

Money raised in the run will go towards raising awareness about child abuse prevention. That includes educating the public about the Period of Purple Crying.

"The Period of Purple Crying is an educational program to teach parents and anybody who is going to be caring for infants that crying is something that occurs. It doesn't mean they're a bad parent or a bad caregiver or that they have a bad baby," Director of Child's Voice Connie Schmidt said.

Schmidt says while you should make sure your baby is properly taken care of and doesn't have any medical needs, sometimes babies may cry for hours no matter what you try.

"If you are feeling angry or if you are feeling frustrated, take a step back," Marissa said.

Meanwhile Henry has made great progress even though he suffers from developmental delays and is blind.

"Every small milestone he accomplishes we celebrate," Marissa said.

The family also hopes that through their work other families will not be put in their situation.

"No family should have to go through that," Marissa said.  "It doesn't have to happen. We just want to help prevent it in our community."

Henry's Run is Saturday, April 26 at 10 a.m. in the morning at Falls Park.

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