Friday, April 20, 2012

Child Abuse Awareness and Activities in April 2012

This year Children Services, Darke County Juvenile Court, CASA, Family and Children First Council, Gateway, the Banner Bound 4-H Club, and volunteers from local government and social service agencies have partnered to bring child abuse awareness to the community. April has been proclaimed Child Abuse and Neglect Awareness Month. Jody Cantrell, Darke County Juvenile Court Administrator and Family and Children First Coordinator noted the community needs to be aware of the extent of child abuse and stated, “Since …July 1, 2011, there have been 39 new abuse and neglect cases filed. To compare, last year, there were 22 new abuse and neglect cases filed.”

Funds for these activities were provided partially by the Ohio Children’s Trust Fund.


Pinwheel Planting:

The Banner Bound 4-H Club will be planting pinwheels during the month of April on Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. on the Commissioner’s Office lawn with each pinwheel representing one of the 489 community concerns reported to Children Services regarding child abuse and neglect in Darke County.

Healthy Families Poster Contest:

Children Services, CASA, Family and Children First Council, and Gateway for Youth are coordinating a Healthy Families poster contest and Child Abuse and Neglect Awareness Walk on Saturday April 21, 2012.

Any family, residing in Darke County, with children under the age of 18 may participate in the Healthy Families Poster Contest. Families should arrive with their completed posters on the sidewalks in front of the Commissioners’ Office at 520 South Broadway, Greenville, Saturday April 21 by 10:30 a.m. Judging will begin at 10:30 a.m. The poster must include four tips for healthy family living and be created on standard sized poster board. Posters will be judged on content and creativity. The back of the poster must include the name of the family and a contact number. First prize is a $50 gift certificate and second prize is a $25 gift certificate. Posters will be displayed at various locations in Greenville after the contest. Volunteers Tracey and Bob Wheeler will be on the grounds to help with the contest entries.

Child Abuse and Neglect Awareness Walk:

The Community is invited to participate in a Child Abuse and Neglect Awareness Walk on Saturday, April 21, 2012. The walk registration starts at 10:30 a.m. in front of the Commissioner’s Office, 520 South Broadway, Greenville. The first 200 hundred walkers that register will receive child abuse awareness wristbands and pinwheels. Walkers are encouraged to wear blue and carry the poster contest entries. There will be a brief welcome presentation and safe walking tips by Rebecca James, Children Services, at 11:00 a.m. with the walk immediately following. The walk will begin and end in front of the Commissioners’ office. After the walk, participants will receive free hot dogs and beverages, served from the gazebo on the Court House lawn. Cooks for the event include Juvenile Probate Judge Jason Aslinger, Greenville Police Chief Dennis Butts, and Margaret Hayes, Darke County Prosecutor’s Office. Jan Boyer, will provide free face painting. Food and beverage donations will be provided by an anonymous citizen and McDonald’s.

Gateway Youth Programs:

Youth participating in Gateway Youth Programs Connection Recreation Center will be making posters for Child Abuse and Neglect Awareness Month in honor of the importance of healthy families and communication. Approximately twenty youth are currently enrolled in the Connection Program which offers after-school support under trained staff supervision to allow a safe place for children to gather after school. Children in the “Think First and Stay Safe Program” will also participate in the poster activity for Child Abuse and Neglect Awareness Month. The Think First and Stay Safe Program is offered quarterly through Gateway located at 116 E. Third St.,Greenville, to children between the ages of seven and eleven to offer guidance and strategies based on trusting instincts and reporting cases where they feel they have been violated to a trusted adult. Kelly Harrison, Gateway Youth Program, commented, “Gateway Youth Programs continue to see steady reports of incidents of abuse and children in situations in which they feel unsafe. I believe that a child’s ability to talk comes from encouragement by a child’s role models in allowing them to feel okay to talk about unsafe situations. We CAN make a difference and what a better way to celebrate healthy families than to come out on April 21st to walk for Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month!”

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