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Cardboard Kids SA: It’s happening everywhere

Cardboard Kids SA - bringing awareness to child abuse in San Antonio and Bexar County with Child Safe

It’s happening everywhere. Abused kids are your neighbors. It’s you. It’s me.”
– Randy McGibeny, director of programs for ChildSafe

Randy’s words have haunted me ever since I sat down with him, ChildSafe President and CEO Kim Abernethy, Director of Development Cathy Siegel, and the other members of the dedicated team at ChildSafe, a nonprofit organization here in San Antonio.

April is Child Abuse Awareness Month and it’s time we started talking about this taboo topic.

But, wait. Child abuse is happening everywhere?

Let me share some sobering statistics with you:

Last year in Bexar County, there were 5,846 confirmed child victims of abuse or neglect. And while that number is horrifying it’s just as shocking to learn that only one in ten abused children ever makes an outcry, meaning thousands more children in and around San Antonio experience abuse each year than ever report it. 1/3 of those children will become abused again.

One in four girls and one in six boys will be abused before the age of 18. 75% of the children who are seen at ChildSafe are sexually abused.

There is so much good happening in San Antonio, but [child abuse] hangs over our head. We need to be on top of this.”
– Kim Abernethy, CEO ChildSafe

To bring awareness to this incredibly important issue in our community, ChildSafe created the Cardboard Kids campaign:

This April, ChildSafe is partnering with businesses, clubs, organizations and individuals to decorate and display a Cardboard Kid for each confirmed case of child abuse that was reported in 2013 — 5,846 children. They will be displayed all over the city on April 3rd to kick off Child Abuse Awareness Month.”

Cardboard Kids SA - bringing awareness to child abuse in San Antonio and Bexar County with Child Safe on April 3, 2014

If you see a Cardboard Kid around San Antonio on Thursday, April 3, please read the page taped to the back. Then, take a picture of the Cardboard Kid and share him or her on your social networks with the hashtag #CardboardKidsSA.

Cardboard Kids SA - bringing awareness to child abuse in San Antonio and Bexar County with Child Safe on April 3, 2014

What is ChildSafe?

Before ChildSafe, children had to retell and relive their abuse over and over again to many different people to try to get help and to stop the perpetrator. ChildSafe’s objective is for a child to only have to tell his or her story ONCE. They accomplish this by employing the skills of forensic interviewers who use top-notch recording equipment. ChildSafe brings all of the relevant agencies (their partners, law enforcement groups, legal teams) together to achieve a common goal: to put the perpetrator in jail.

ChildSafe also provides a range of services for child survivors of abuse and neglect and their protective family members, including forensic interviews, crisis intervention, case management, individual, group and family therapy and even adventure therapy to aid in healing child victims.

Cardboard Kids SA - bringing awareness to child abuse in San Antonio and Bexar County with Child Safe on April 3, 2014

The reason why children come to ChildSafe is very sad, but children are resilient and [with intervention] can do really well. ChildSafe has lots of success stories.”
– ChildSafe CEO Kim Abernethy

Watch for Cardboard Kids all over San Antonio on April 3 and help us spread the word:

Child abuse occurs across every demographic; it has no borders – It’s Happening Everywhere.

Important resources regarding child abuse: 

Know someone who needs help? Call ChildSafe at 210-675-9000.

What should you do or say if you suspect child abuse?

10 Signs of Abuse

Learn more about what Child Safe does

ChildSafe on Twitter
ChildSafe on Facebook
Cardboard Kids SA website
Hashtag: #CardboardKidsSA


  1. I wish I could like this post a million times!!! but then again, I wish there was no need for a post like this as well. Love you woman, thanks for sharing this

  2. Colleen: Thank you for sharing this post with the community. It’s important that we talk about this problem and make steps to solve it!

  3. Colleen, Thanks for your voice. You’ve said it well. Yes, we need to talk about it – we can make a difference together!

    • Thank you. I’m eager to help spread your message about horrible issue of child abuse in San Antonio and beyond. Thanks for providing me with those helpful resources at the end of the post. I’m sure they will help many people.

  4. Karen Adams says:

    A collective thank you from all who love and work on behalf of children daily!

    • You’re welcome, Karen. I’d like to do more. I’m probably like most people – I want to help but I’m not sure where to start other than raising my voice on the issue.

  5. I love raising more awareness. I personally have been trying to prove emotional abuse for a child I know but sadly the state doesn’t do anything and even went so far as to do the “final interview” at the perpetrators home. For physical abuse it seems somewhat easier to prove. I love that this company creates a way for a child to only tell their story once, it’s not easy watching your own child or any child try to relive and retell their story. That can leave stories not matching as it’s difficult for the child to speak up in the first place! I will have to see if this business operates in the NH area, I would proudly support it!

  6. Armida Defelix says:

    I would be interested in doing this in my hometown of El Paso how can I get started

  7. Teri Crowe says:

    Colleen, I just recently visited your beautiful city(my first time in Texas) and I loved it. I saw in one of your banks there the cardboard kids program and I am interested in starting this at my church. I know the campaign is almost over but how can I get this started for next year. I am in charge of our respect life ministries at my church and think this would be a perfect project for our Sunday school kids and our adult parishoners. Thank You for your time.


  1. […] the last two years, while supporting Cardboard Kids, I’ve learned so much about ChildSafe: child advocacy in San […]

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