With the month of April considered child abuse prevention month, the Children’s Division of Newton/McDonald County are planning a Child Abuse Prevention Walk on Friday.
The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Neosho National Fish Hatchery, 520 Park St.
“The children’s division staff will be there and then we are asking the public and anyone that wants to join in with us, to come and do the walk,” said Jennifer Henson, senior office support assistant for the children’s division. “We are going to start with a brief speech (from Jim Otey) about some child abuse prevention stats and stuff like that, kind of what goes on. Give the community some ideas on how many hotline calls are made to the state of Missouri, how many are made here locally, how many we deal with and out of those how many we substantiate, which means there is confirmed child abuse or neglect.”
The children’s division is asking for the participants to wear blue shirts to show support against child abuse. And if you can’t attend, they are encouraging you to wear blue and spread the word about child abuse prevention.
Prior to the walk, Henson added, “Then we are going do a release of blue balloons, blue is kind of the symbol for child abuse and awareness.”
The event will also include hot dogs, bag of chips and water until it runs out. The walk will be a come and go event.
“Then we have some trees that were donated by the (Missouri Department of Conservation) – 75 of those to give away, we are going to put a little blue ribbon on those and we are asking people to plant those in their yards,” she added.
Henson said this event is very important.
“It is important for us to do that, because a lot of people don’t know that (about child abuse and neglect prevention),” she said. “We have the blue ribbons that kind of go out and about, we wear blue on certain days of the month, but a lot of people don’t know why we are doing that. This walk is to kind of let people know what there is going out in the community. A lot of people don’t even know, some people don’t even know what our hotline is and they don’t know what to do if they see child abuse and neglect going on.”
There will also be information provided if someone is wanting to be a foster parent.
“We have a huge need for foster homes in our area,” Henson added. “And we will have information there to let people know about that if they decide to become a foster home, what that entails and what they would need to do.”
Page 2 of 2 - For more information, contact Shawna Geary at 455-5142.