"Chemung County Recognizes April as Child Abuse Prevention Month"
CHEMUNG COUNTY– Throughout the month of April, THE CHEMUNG COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES (DSS) AND MULTIDISCIPLINARY TEAM (MDT) / CHILD ADVOCACY CENTER (CAC) is joining National Children’s Alliance and its thousands of members and supporters across the country to bring much needed attention to the issues of child abuse intervention and prevention. Chemung County Executive Tom Santulli has proclaimed April as Child Abuse Prevention Month in Chemung County and is calling on our community to speak up for these victims and act on their behalf to prevent further tragedy.
Child abuse is a national tragedy and a silent killer. Between 2001 and 2008, national statistics indicated that over 12,000 U.S. children died from abuse and neglect (www.endchildabusedeaths.org).
THE DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES AND MULTIDISCIPLINARY TEAM / CHILD ADVOCACY CENTER recognize the importance of raising awareness and community education surrounding the subject of child abuse. Activities planned throughout the month to raise awareness include:
- Introducing the Stand Up For Kids Pledge Campaign and asking members of the community to sign the pledge agreeing to stop the silence and shame associated with child abuse, become familiar with the warning signs of child abuse, and to report when child abuse is suspected. The pledge can be found on-line at www.chemungcounty.com/StandUpForKids.
- All staff at the Department of Social Services and members of the Multidisciplinary Team / Child Advocacy Center program, as well as members of the community, will be given blue ribbons to wear throughout the month of April. The blue ribbon symbolizes awareness of child abuse and is recognition of the commitment to prevent child abuse.
- Staff can be seen on Twin Tiers Sunday with Renata Stiehl this Sunday at 9:00am on WENY ABC, 11:00am on WENY CBS and 11pm on WENY ABC. Staff can also be seen this Sunday on Twin Tiers Weekly with Jeff Stone at 10:00am on WETM and again at noon on WETM-2. Topics include the Child Protective Services mission and process, the Child Advocacy Center and the purpose, the warning signs of child abuse, the history of Child Abuse Prevention Month and the Blue Ribbon Campaign as well as the Stand Up For Kids Pledge Campaign.
- The Puzzle Pieces newsletter that is issued by the Child Advocacy Center will become available in April and will focus on child abuse prevention. To access the newsletter go to www.chemungcounty.com/PuzzlePieces.
- Mandated Reporter Reference Cards are being provided to mandated reporters and organizations in the community to assist professionals when reporting abuse to the State Central Register.
Kellie Lowman, Director of Children and Family Services stated, “As a community, we can all take a role in ending child abuse. Research shows that when parents possess six protective factors, the risk for neglect and abuse diminish and optimal outcomes for children, youth, and families are promoted. The six protective factors are:
• Nurturing and attachment
• Knowledge of parenting and of child and youth development
• Parental resilience
• Social connections
• Concrete supports for parents
• Social and emotional developmental well-being
The staff at Children and Family Services at DSS are dedicated and committed to helping families overcome child abuse and neglect. April is a time to remind the community of the important role they can play in protecting children. “Everyone’s participation is critical. Focusing on ways to build and promote the protective factors, in every interaction with children and families, is the best thing our community can do to prevent child maltreatment and promote optimal child development,” added Lowman.
Kim Ripley, Coordinator of the Chemung County Child Advocacy Center, stated, “As a member of National Children’s Alliance, THE CHEMUNG COUNTY MULTIDISCIPLINARY TEAM AND CHILD ADVOCACY CENTER fully supports the multidisciplinary approach to responding to allegations of child abuse. We believe that our local community should become more educated about the benefits of this process and how to recognize signs of abuse. During the month of April, the issue of child abuse will be at the forefront of national discussions and we can only hope that our fellow citizens will pay attention as much needed light is shed on this issue.”
For more information related to National Child Abuse Prevention Month, please visit www.chemungcounty.com or visit www.nationalchildrensalliance.org.
The Chemung County Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) and Child Advocacy Center (CAC) is a partnership of the Department of Social Services, Department of Mental Hygiene, New York State Police, Chemung County Sheriff’s Office, Elmira Police Department, Elmira Heights Police Department, Horseheads Police Department, District Attorney’s Office, Probation, Family Services of Chemung County, Salvation Army Safehouse, Rape Crisis of the Southern Tier, Southern Tier Pediatrics, the Medical Examiner’s Office and the NYS Office of Children and Family Services Rochester Regional Office. The Child Advocacy Center is accredited by the National Children’s Alliance and is a Tier 1 center through the NYS Office of Children and Family Services.
National Children’s Alliance (NCA) is a national association dedicated to helping local communities respond to allegations of child abuse in ways that are effective and efficient and put the needs of child victims of abuse first. As the accrediting body for the over 700 Child Advocacy Centers around the country, NCA provides training, financial support, technical assistance, leadership, national advocacy and access to current research findings on a national level to children’s advocacy centers around the country as well as numerous developing centers, multidisciplinary teams and child abuse professionals. www.nationalchildrensalliance.org