A Child Abuse Prevention Flag will fly on the west side of the Parker County Courthouse during the month of April as the county and Parker County’s Child Protective Services Board look to raise awareness about child abuse and prevention through a series of activities for Child Abuse Awareness Month.
"We have declared April as Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month in Parker County," Parker County Judge Mark Riley said. "We stand with the Parker County CPS Board in their efforts to raise awareness and prevent the abuse of children throughout Parker County and Texas."
Statistics related to child abuse are gut wrenching, with 171 child abuse fatalities reported in Texas in 2015. Parker County had 442 confirmed cases of child abuse in 2015 while the state had 40,318.
"Public awareness through community education is shown to be the most effective agent in the prevention of child abuse and neglect," said Angie Childers, Chair of the CPS Board Child Abuse Prevention Campaign. "Child abuse can be prevented given the right knowledge of recognizing the signs, how to report, equipping struggling parents with parenting resources such as substance abuse counseling and developing a support system for them, as well as empowering kids themselves with personal safety education and the resources available to them. We appreciate the Parker County Commissioners Court for their support in helping to spread the word."
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Anyone aware of child abuse and neglect should please report it to 1-800-252-5400, or at texasabusehotline.org. It is the law. A well informed and aware general public may be the only hope an abused child has, according to Childers.
Parker County’s CPS Board will promote activities to raise awareness for preventing and reporting child abuse and neglect, thereby strengthening the health, safety and productivity of the children and residents throughout the community.
Those wanting to assist the Parker County CPS Board can attend the annual fundraising dinner, "Saddle Up for Kids" to be April 28 at the Sheriff’s Posse and tickets can be purchased at www.childwelfareboardpc.org.
All 25,636 students in Parker County are given items such as a bracelet or pencil bag printed with a prevention message and reporting number on it, according to Childers.
A child abuse billboard just west of Weatherford on Highway 180 has been procured by the Board for up to 6 months with a public exposure rate of over 3.5 million over that time.
"Something else new this year are the child abuse prevention flags along the bridge on Fort Worth Highway by Albertson’s and the city’s First Monday grounds," CPS Board President Gerald Hobson said. "The city generously donated the space for our use and we appreciate that greatly."
A new measure to further education of preventing child abuse for those in direct contact with students are the Child Protection Training DVDs the CPS Board is giving all 50 campuses in Parker County. These DVDs are produced by the Dallas Child Advocacy Center and come in a set containing one for staff and volunteers on recognizing and reporting, one for parents on how to keep your kids safe in the real and virtual world, one for students," You Are Not Alone", along with a Spanish version of the same.
"These will be a gift to all our campuses to have available to show to parents, students and staff, not only as a part of the prevention campaign but any time needed," Childers said. "These DVD’s will also help our districts be TEA and Jenna’s Law complaint in child abuse prevention protocols."
Go Blue Day, April 8th is also known as National Child Abuse Awareness Day. This is the day that many school districts participate by students and staff wearing blue, discussing the issue and watching the dvd’s that the CPS Board provides.
Jenna’s Law is also known as House Bill 1041 from the 2009 legislative session. The bill mandates each school district to adopt and implement a policy addressing sexual and physical abuse of children to include methods for increasing teacher, student and parent awareness of issues regarding abuse warning signs and providing actions to obtain assistance and intervention for a child who is a victim.
The CPS Board will be setting up pinwheels on the lawn of the Parker County Courthouse, representing all 442 victims of child abuse in Parker County. The pinwheel is the national symbol of child abuse prevention and these gardens are coordinated all over Texas.
April 24 is Blue Sunday, with everyone asked to wear blue, the national color of child abuse prevention. Blue Sunday is also the national day of prayer for the prevention of child abuse.