A 5-kilometer walk Saturday will support safe, happy and healthy children.

Sponsors of the Walk to Stop Child Abuse urge residents to join them in what they describe as a fun family event to remind Texans of the importance of preventing child abuse.

Sponsored by Prevent Child Abuse Texas and McLane Children’s Hospital Scott & White, the event begins at 9 a.m. on the Pepper Creek Trail at 546 N. Kegley Road and will cover 3.1 miles, said Jo-Ell Guzman, event coordinator.

The cost is $25 for ages 12 and older and $10 for children younger than 12.

Proceeds will benefit the expansion and maintenance of child abuse prevention programs throughout Central Texas.

For information contact Guzman at 254-724-6330 or jguzman@sw.org. Same-day registration will be available on site.

Central Texas has one of the highest rates of child abuse and neglect in Texas, according to Aware Central Texas.

Aware Central Texas says that a child is reported abused or neglected every 11 seconds in the United States and 4 children die every day from abuse.

ACT said that child abuse and neglect may be the root of many problems, including bad school performance, absenteeism, gang violence, runaways, teen pregnancy, criminal activity, domestic violence, mental and physical health issues, poor socialization and job skills, poverty, homelessness and an ongoing legacy of child abuse and neglect.

ACT estimates $80 billion will be spent in the United States by the end of this year to address child abuse and neglect.

Texas Department of Family and Protective Services maintains a 24-hour a day, 7 days a week, nationwide abuse hotline that can be reached at 1-800-252-5400. They have a secure website where people may report abuse, and a response will be received within 24 hours. The organization cannot accept email reports of suspected abuse or neglect.

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