Preventing child abuse in Greene County

By Scott Halasz shalasz@civitasmedia.com

April 4, 2014

XENIA — Greene County Children Services has taken a new approach to child abuse prevention.

Teachers, doctors and other professional-type reporters are well-trained. But something was missing.

“We realized we don’t do a very good job of educating children,” Children Services Administrator Amy Amburn told county commissioners at their regular meeting Thursday.

So to fix that deficiency, the county sponsored an art contest for students in fourth and fifth grades. Students were asked to create a picture that depicts their interpretation of child abuse. More than 60 entered and 13 were selected as winners. The winning art work will appear in a 2015 calendar produced by children services and winners and teachers will receive prizes at an event later in April.

The art contest was one of several events during April, which is Child Abuse Prevention Month nationally.

“Childhood abuse is a problem that reaches across the globe,” said Beth Rubin, Director of Greene County Job and Family Services. There are more than three million reports of child abuse each year in the United States and nearly 40,000 in Ohio. Greene County assessed 1,111 reports in 2013.

The county has activities throughout the month to help raise awareness and hopefully prevent future abuse cases.

• On April 9, more than 25 organizations, county agencies and businesses are participating in the statewide Wear Blue Day. Children Services is providing lapel stickers to participants and are encouraging them to take a photo and send to Children Services for use on Facebook.

• The blue pinwheel has become a nationally recognized symbol for child abuse prevention and awareness and multiple county agencies are again hosting their own pinwheel displays this month. Nearly 30 are participating by displaying the pinwheels inside or outside.

• Back after a brief hiatus is the Walking to Stop Child Abuse 5K Walk/Run on April 26 at Beavercreek High School. The cost is $20 in advance or $25 the day of the race. There is a discount if registered as part of a team of five or more. Those interested should visit www.speedy-feet.com.

The three very different events have the same goal.

“We hope to strengthen the awareness of child abuse in our county,” said Monica Schiffler, public relations specialist for Children Services.

After viewing the winning art work, commissioners unanimously passed a resolution urging all citizens to work together to help reduce child abuse and neglect significantly in years to come.

“To see a fourth or fifth grader draw this is phenomenal,” Commission President Bob Glaser said.