Thurston County Commissioners issued a proclamation today designating April 2014 as "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.
"Thurston County has a network of organizations and really amazing people who are focused on strengthening and supporting families 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 use these resources, we can prevent child abuse in our community," said County Commission Vice Chair Sandra Romero. Romero is also chair of the Thurston Council for Children and Youth (TCCY), a group working to bring attention to domestic violence in our community and to identify preventative measures to reduce harm to children.
"I'm pleased to see this proclamation come on the heels of the report from the Thurston Thrives Child and Youth Resilience Action Team," said Commission Chair Karen Valenzuela. "I think we have a lot of momentum right now on this important issue, and my hope is that this proclamation helps build awareness in the community that there are concrete steps we can take to protect children and support families."
"When we work to protect children from abuse and neglect, we not only reap the benefit of a healthier, happier child, but we also benefit as a whole community," said County Commissioner and Thurston County Board of Health Chair Cathy Wolfe. "Studies have shown time and again that protecting our children from abuse, neglect, and domestic violence today means they are less likely to have problems with addiction, employment, mental illness, or run-ins with the law later on in life. Protecting a child today ensures a better tomorrow—that's how we all benefit from speaking out against child abuse."
The proclamation was accepted by Shelly Willis, Director of Family Education and Support Services. Shelly is also a member of TCCY and sits on the Thurston Thrives Advisory Council. Do you know a child who is being abused? Call the DSHS 24-Hour Hotline:
- 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
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
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 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 the link under the heading "April is Child Abuse Prevention Month."
To learn more about the Thurston Thrives initiative and its Child and Youth Resilience Action Team, visit www.co.thurston.wa.us/health/thrives