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Cities promoted Child Abuse Prevention Programs during April.

During the month of April thousands of people donned blue ribbons, the official symbol of the fight against child abuse and neglect, in recognition of Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Leaders in cities around the nation are implementing programs in their communities to combat child abuse, a serious problem that transcends geographic and socioeconomic lines to affect the youngest members of society.

A report released in early April by the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System found that child protective service agencies received about 2,600,000 reports of possible maltreatment in 2002.

There were 896,000 substantiated cases of maltreatment of children; this number includes neglect, medical neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse and psychological maltreatment.

Child fatalities are the most tragic consequence of these abuses. In 2002, an estimated 1,400 children died from abuse or neglect, and recent studies in Colorado and North Carolina have estimated as many as 50 to 60 percent of deaths resulting from abuse or neglect are not recorded.

Local elected officials across the nation are responding to the problem of child abuse through various means--from citywide proclamations to communitywide conferences.

Proclamations

Davis, Calif., wrote a proclamation that included recognition and support of those agencies in the community that work to combat child abuse and support victims of such abuse.

In Bonman, Texas, Mayor Wayne Moore signed a proclamation encouraging members of the community to work toward providing victims of abuse a chance for safe and positive futures.

Mayor Susan Spence of Superior, Colo., stressed the responsibility that lies with city and county employees to report incidences of abuse and/or neglect to the proper authorities.

Events

In Cumberland County, N.C., 135 students participated in a "Breaking the Chain of Abuse Activity," held April 2. Students from around the county constructed a 10-foot chain using colorful construction paper.

During a special ceremony at the Fayetteville City Hall, all the links of the paper chain were connected as Mayor Marshall Pitts read the city's proclamation to stamp out child abuse in Cumberland County.

The students along with the mayor broke the chain to symbolize the need to 'break the chain of child abuse.'

In Virginia Beach, Va. the Mayor's Summit on Child Abuse Prevention was held in February to bring together professionals who work with abused children and their families.

Law enforcement, social services, education, nonprofit, medical and judicial representatives were present to focus on prevention efforts.

Support Services

New York City's Administration for Children's Services offers community-based crisis intervention, individual and family counseling, six- to eight- week crisis intervention and family preservation services, family rehabilitation programs for families where a parental substance abuse problem exists, and respite care to provide families with brief and temporary care for children.

The City of South Salt Lake, Utah, Family Support Center's mission is to prevent child abuse and neglect in all its forms and to treat those who live with its devastating effects--parents as well as children--regardless of ability to pay.

The program provides crisis intervention, 24 hour a day, 365-day-a-year crisis and respite care, family counseling, parental education, and a strong network with other community service organizations to help address economic, health and/or other problems that increase the risk of child abuse.

Internet-Based Resources

While many municipalities may not have the resources to provide such extensive programs, many feature the topic of child abuse on their city websites.

For example, the Cities of Cotati, Fullerton, and Santa Monica, Calif., each offer extensive information on their websites regarding child abuse prevention, including definitions of child abuse, where to find more information, everyday tips for prevention, and how to report child abuse.

Details: Descriptions of each of these programs can be found in NLC's Examples of Programs for Cities database. If you know of a city-sponsored program in your area that you think NLC should include in the Examples of Programs for Cities database, please contact Dylan Nicole de Kervor at 202-626-3073 or via email at dekervor@nlc.org.
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Author:de Kervor, Dylan Nicole
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:May 3, 2004
Words:663
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