What's New at CBH

Child Abuse IS Preventable

4/24/2013 8:00:00 AM
Written By:
Elizabeth Overall

Child abuse costs the US $258 million per day based on a study from Prevent Child Abuse America. In Virginia, for fiscal year 2010-2011, 48,915 children were named as possible victims; there were 6,234 founded abuse cases; and 34,185 children were involved in family assessments. In 2011, York County and Poquoson (based on statistics from Prevent Child Abuse America), identified 642 children named as possible victims. Out of this number, there were 71 child abuse/neglect investigations, 267 family assessments and 34 founded abuse cases.

Dr. Jeff Linkenbach notes that it is not enough to simply change behaviors that already exist. We must work on prevention to stop maltreatment of children before it begins. Prevention is essential to stop the cycle of abuse. Prevention demonstrates that no single solution exists to reduce child abuse and neglect; instead a comprehensive approach of strategies must be in place to create safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments. Strategies must include policies, enforcement, media communications, intervention, education, and skill training. The "one thing" we should focus on to reduce child abuse is communicating cultural norms that make the well-being of children the benchmark for the health of our society.

Many people might ask, how can child abuse and neglect be prevented? Know the warning signs! Parents under chronic stress, children exhibiting negative and anxious behaviors, and signs of physical abuse (unusual shaped bruises or cuts in atypical places) can be signs of child abuse and/or neglect. Encourage families who are under stress to call their local department of social services or 1-800-CHILDREN. If you suspect child abuse or neglect, call the Child Protective Services Hotline at 1-800-552-7096.

Prevent Child Abuse America and local chapters have introduced the pinwheel as the new symbol for child abuse and prevention nationwide. The Pinwheel represents efforts to change the way people think about prevention, focusing on community activities and public policies that prioritize prevention from the start to make sure child abuse never occurs. Nearly 900,000 pinwheels have been displayed since 2008. Look for pinwheels throughout York County and Poquoson during the month of April!

Prevent Child Abuse America is a national organization that provides awareness and education of child abuse. This organization includes several state and local chapters; Prevent Child Abuse Virginia Chapter and Prevent Child Abuse Hampton Roads Chapter. York County and the City of Poquoson fall under the Prevent Child Abuse Hampton Roads Chapter. The local chapter is called the York-Poquoson Child Advocacy Team (CAT). CAT provides grants to local community partners working to prevent or educate people about child abuse. CAT also provides training opportunities to community partners throughout the year. CAT's main fundraising event of the year is a Celebrity Luncheon and silent auction. If you would like more information regarding CAT or would like to be involved, please contact Elizabeth Overall at 890-3954 or Courtney Dowell 253 - 4074.

Elizabeth Overall is a social worker working with children in the foster care system in Virginia. Elizabeth holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work from Christopher Newport University and is currently pursuing her Master of Social Work degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. Elizabeth is employed full time at York-Poquoson Department of Social Services and has over four years of experience working with children in the child welfare system. Elizabeth volunteers her time to serve as the co-chairperson of the York-Poquoson Child Advocacy team.

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