AUTHOR — We must make a difference to prevent child abuse

Published 12:10 am Monday, April 15, 2024

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As a professional therapist and director of a home for abused children, I became aware of three Russian children who were adopted into an abusive home down a dusty road in Caney Head, six miles north of Silsbee.

Abuse reports from neighbors brought attention to the children, who ran away to hide in the woods, and ultimately, Child Protective Services sent me to the home. Despite my efforts, the children were failed by every agency put into place to protect them.

I found myself being pulled into the dark world of the children, living in a story that needed to be told. My book, DEAD DOG ROAD, A True Story Into The Dark World Of An Abused Child, tells the events that span many years.

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Scenes in the book take place in Beaumont, Port Author and several East Texas towns, such as Silsbee, Evadale, Jasper, and areas near Hemphill.

Child abuse is uncomfortable to think about. We don’t want to remember that it’s happening in our town, in our neighborhood. We wonder what we can do about it. There are no easy answers, but children are too important for us not to do what we can.

It may seem like throwing a cup of water on a raging fire but if enough people join together to fight the fire it will make a difference.

April is National Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month. It is a time to be reminded that communities should work together to prevent child abuse.

We can learn to recognize the signs, report suspected abuse, and follow up. We can encourage community leaders to support investigations by law enforcement and to acknowledge that child abuse, as a crime, deserves the same response and protection that a crime against an adult deserves.

We can become foster parents. We can volunteer, or donate locally to a residential facility such as Boys Haven or Girls Haven. Or become a Child Appointed Special Advocate, CASA.

No one knows the exact number of preventable child deaths due to abuse and neglect, but in Texas it is estimated by some agencies and investigators to be in the hundreds.

The alarming rate of child maltreatment in our society deserves a response.

As a community, we have a collective and individual moral responsibility to protect the most vulnerable among us.

It is my hope and prayer that the story of Dead Dog Road will help to bring awareness to the plight of abused children. That it will be my “cup of water.”

Diane Black is a former Southeast Texas resident and can be reached at To learn more, visit