Child abuse prevention walk should 'alert citizens' need for community involvement

Cary Ashby • Apr 25, 2019 at 11:00 AM

Nearly 80 people participated in the annual child abuse prevention walk Wednesday morning in downtown Norwalk.

“Activities such as this prevention walk provide us with an opportunity to alert the citizens of Huron County of the need for a community commitment in preventing child abuse,” said Lenora Minor, director of the Huron County Department of Job and Family Services (JFS).

The walk, which honors Child Abuse Prevention Month, went down Main Street, from Suhr Family Park to the St. Paul Gathering Space. Mary Valentine, JFS children services supervisor in the the investigation assessment unit, said the event shows that “we need the whole community here” to prevent child abuse.

“It highlights that we can’t do this alone and that Huron County is all in this together,” she added.

In 2018, JFS opened 957 cases and took 1,861 reports of child abuse or neglect, according to statistics provided by the welfare agency.

Huron County Commissioner Skip Wilde read a proclamation which declared “children are the Huron County’s most precious and valuable resource” and each one “has the right as a human being to live and grow in a safe and supportive environment.”

“Child abuse/neglect is a community problem and finding solutions will depend on (the) involvement of people throughout Huron County. … Child abuse/neglect prevention programs will succeed because of partnerships among private sector agencies and the people of Huron County,” Wilde said while reading the proclamation.

The commissioners encouraged residents to not only recognize and support the needs of abused and neglected children, but also take action to prevent it from happening. 

Minor had all the employees in the JFS children services department step forward in the St. Paul Gathering Space.

“They are the first responders who keep our children safe,” she said. “We have a great staff. We appreciate all they do for the safety of the children of Huron County.”

The JFS director listed ways the community can help prevent child abuse: Reporting an incident, becoming a foster or adoptive parent to “care for children placed in the agency’s custody,” partnering with JFS in addressing the needs of children who experience abuse and/or “being a respite caregiver when parents need to work on their parenting skills.” 

“As a united, educated and supported community, we can better prevent the physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional maltreatment and neglect of our children. I want to thank all our community partners for their dedicated efforts throughout the year in helping to further our mission of ensuring safe, nurturing environments for all of our children,” Minor said.

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