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Groups Ask For More Child Abuse Laws

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Nevada has more child deaths related to abuse and neglect than any other state, with more than 20 kids dying last year.

That's why several organizations are in Carson City, raising awareness on this issue.

As part of Children's Week, silver and blue pinwheels have been planted on the front lawn of the legislative building, representing hope and health for a child.

Lawmakers have about a dozen bills to look over that deal with child abuse, from education to stiffer penalties for perpetrators. 

Child abuse ranges from physical and sexual abuse, to neglect and emotional abuse, affecting more than 7% of Nevada's children.

"It might not seem like a lot but we have about 650,000 kids in the state," Amanda Haboush, of Prevent Child Abuse Nevada, said. "So, it's a pretty significant number."

Keia Guia knows the pain of losing a child.

Her son, Elijah, was just nine months old when he died as a result of abuse, nearly two years ago.

"His life was taken from him under the care of his sitter," Guia said. "He was found with multiple bruises, lacerations, hemorrhaging, signs of asphyxia, suffocation."

Guia says her son hasn't received justice.

Her goal is to seek justice for other kids before it's too late.

"You can let it destroy you and let that perpetrator deflate the whole family, to hurt the whole family, or you can take it and rise up from it and become a warrior against this," Guia said.

Dee Klymann adopted her son, Michael, after the boy's birth mother brought him to the hospital.

The victim of Shaken Baby Syndrome was only five months old.

"The doctors knew after examination, that he had been severely shaken and possibly slammed against a wall," Klymman said.

Michael's brain damage was so severe that doctors said he wouldn't live to see his second birthday. He passed away when he was 22 years old.

Klymann spends her time educating people on the affects of Shaken Baby Syndrome.

"The number one reason why people shake their children is to try to get them to be quiet," Klymman said. "But anyone can cross this line. It only takes five to ten seconds."

They also hope lawmakers will grant more funding to help the nearly 4,000 kids in Nevada's foster care system.

"It's easier to save a child than it is to repair an adult," Guia said.

Americans from all over the country will participate in the Million March Against Child Abuse.

Organizers in Carson City will begin their march on April 22 at 7am.

Written by Paul Nelson

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