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By SHAINA STOCKTON, Staff
The Family Resource Center is holding a special event at the Elks Lodge in Galax to raise awareness for Child Abuse Prevention Month in April.
“We are going to use the theme to help keep the community safe, and to shine a light on child abuse,” said Amy Parks, who is heading the event.
Parks hopes to see parents bring their kids for a family day, complete with food, games and information to help keep children safe.
Police officers from Carroll County, Grayson County and Galax will attend and offer several activities keeping child safety in mind. Car seat checks, fingerprinting and various safety talks for children will be available.
This is the first year for these activities, and Parks noted that the center would like to hold similar events to help raise awareness.
The Family Resource Center serves 300 to 400 people in Bland, Wythe, Smyth, Carroll and Grayson counties and the City of Galax. It offers a long list of resources for victims of dating violence, domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, sexual assault and stalking. Programs include a 24-hour hotline, emergency shelter, therapy, crisis accompaniment, court and legal advocacy, supportive counseling, prevention education, presentations for community groups and volunteer opportunities and internships. Services are available for adults and children.
There are no fees associated with the center’s services, and everything is confidential, Parks said.
Parks hopes that hosting educational opportunities like these will also make the community aware of their programs. “A lot of people don’t even know that our services exist, and that they are free,” she said.
Having worked with different levels of abuse through her career, Parks noted that the incidents the center deals with, including child abuse, not only affect the victim, but also everyone around them.
“A lot of kids bully as a way of acting out, or they misbehave in class... it’s not that they are bad kids, they are using [these techniques] to reach out for help,” she said.
The event will be held April 6 from noon to 4 p.m. at the Elks Lodge on East Stuart Drive in Galax. Games will include corn hole, face painting, and several games. Food will be provided by the West Galax Diner. There is no fee to attend.
The Family Resource Center’s main office is located at 2171 W. Lee Highway in Wytheville. For more information, or to access its services, call the 24-hour helpline at 1-800-613-6145, the administrative office at (276) 625-0219, the Wythe and Bland County office at (276) 228-3522, the Smyth County office at (276) 782-1608, the Twin Counties office at 236-0364, visit www.frc-inc.org or like FRCINC on Facebook.
Galax receives 72 referrals to child protective services
The Galax Department of Social Services is partnering with the Virginia Coalition for Child Abuse Prevention in recognition of Child Abuse Prevention Month in April.
“This partnership is designed to raise awareness about the different role citizens in the community can play in valuing children and working together to strengthen their families,” said Jennifer Jarrells of the Galax Department of Social Services.
The City of Galax received 72 referrals concerning Child Protective Services during the previous fiscal year (July 2011 through June 2012). Fifteen of these referrals were investigations; 52 were handled as family assessments with services and referrals being made as appropriate.
“All of these numbers can be overwhelming, but they can also be used as reminders that, as a community, it is important not to look the other way when you see something like this happening,” said Jarrells. “It is also important to remember that everyone in a community can influence a child and make a difference in their life.”
Throughout the month of April, Jarrells says that social services representatives will wear blue ribbons to honor the children who have been affected by abuse.
For more information about child abuse prevention, contact Jarrells at 236-8111.
CHILD ABUSE STATS
According to statistics from the Virginia Department of Social Services in 2012:
• A child dies from abuse or neglect once every 10 days.
• A child is abused or neglected once every 83 minutes.
• In an average moment, there are 4,802 children in foster care in Virginia.
Data released by the Virginia State Police in 2011 states that:
• A child age 19 or younger is murdered once every 7 days.
• A juvenile commits a violent crime every 73 minutes.
Data received from the Virginia Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Data in 2011 states that:
• A family seeks shelter from domestic violence every 2.8 hours, but are denied for lack of space.
• Every day, five children receive services from a sexual assault crisis center.
• Every 1.8 hours, a child is served by a domestic violence program.