Today the Board of Thurston County Commissioners issued a proclamation making April 2013 "Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month in Thurston County."
Thurston County's proclamation is part of a larger national campaign in April to raise awareness about child abuse. Since 1983, communities across the country have taken time in April to promote local efforts and programs that help prevent child abuse and neglect, support families and strengthen communities.
"We've had a number of very sad cases of child abuse in our area make headlines in the last year or so. All too often, people see these headlines and shake their heads in distress, thinking there is nothing that ordinary citizens can do to stop violence against children. They think that only the police or schools or child welfare agencies can help a child who's being abused, but that's not true. It's everyone's responsibility to speak up," said County Commission Chair Sandra Romero. Romero is also the chair of the county's Child Abuse Prevention Task Force and the Thurston Leadership Council for Children and Youth.
"Thurston County has a network of organizations and really amazing people who are focused on strengthening and supporting families, preventing domestic violence, and preventing child abuse and neglect. This proclamation is designed to honor their work and efforts, and to raise awareness among Thurston County residents that there is help and hope. We want people to know that when we work together and utilize these resources, we can prevent child abuse in our community." said County Commission Vice Chair Cathy Wolfe.
"The evidence is clear-it takes the collective action of everyone in our community to come together and make this a safer and healthier place for our children and families to live," said County Commissioner Karen Valenzuela. "My hope is that our message reaches deep into the community, and that parents in distress know that help is just a phone call away." The proclamation was accepted by Kim Gabbard, supervisor, for the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services in Tumwater.
Do you know a child who is being abused? Call the DSHS 24-Hour Hotline: 1-866 –END-HARM (1-866-363-4276)
- Olympia Crisis Clinic 24-Hour Hotline: 1-800-627-2211
- SafePlace 24-Hour Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence Hotline: (360) 754-6300 or for TTY call (360) 943-6703
To learn more about DSHS Child Protective Services and other DSHS programs and resources dedicated to protecting children, go to www.dshs.wa.gov/children.shtml. For more information about child abuse prevention and family support programs in Thurston County and the South Puget Sound region, visit the Family Education & Support Services website at www.FamilyESS.org. For a list of emergency service contacts and other resources for Thurston County parents, go to the Thurston County website at www.co.thurston.wa.us and click on "April is Child Abuse Prevention & Awareness Month."-30-