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Community members should take the opportunity to don a blue ribbon during the upcoming month, an outward show of support for Child Abuse Prevention

CENTRAL OREGONIAN FILE PHOTO - Jason Chaney, managing editorThe blue pinwheel gardens are back in their familiar settings throughout the community and buckets of blue ribbons can once again be found at a host of businesses and organizations throughout Prineville. April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and as KIDS Center and MountainStar Family Relief Nursery team up to commemorate the occasion, people in Crook County should find ways to support and join the effort.

Child abuse prevention is a no-brainer cause to support. Children are our most vulnerable community members, and they should enjoy a happy, supported life that helps them grow into the adults that will someday contribute to our future society and community. They are our loved ones, our neighbors, the little people in our lives with a joy and exuberance that should never get snuffed out at the hands of abusers.

It's unfortunate that child abuse happens. But it does happen, sparing no community. In fact, it might be escalating. The Oregon Department of Human Services revealed that the Oregon Child Abuse Hotline received nearly 20,000 more calls in 2021 than in 2020. So, all adults need to know the signs and what to do if they suspect abuse is taking place. That is stated goal of KIDS Center and MountainStar as they partner to raise awareness during the nationally recognized month. They want to educate and inform people about this unfortunate reality so that as many community members as possible can recognize abuse and take action. As Rachel Visser with KIDS Center puts it, one person can make a difference in a child's life, and the more information we get out to parents and other adults in the community, the better it will be for the children in that community.

The responsibility falls to all adults, not just the ones who are parents and current raising children. The kids cannot and should not be expected to prevent the abuse – it is the adults who need to step up and protect and support them.

Community members should take the opportunity to don a blue ribbon during the upcoming month, an outward show of support for Child Abuse Prevention. And if you have the opportunity, a special event is planned at Stryker Field later this month that is intended to provide kids and families a positive outing as well as a venue for child abuse prevention resources. In addition, the KIDS Center offers prevention training classes not just this month but every month. If you want to help prevent child abuse, the class is available in person or virtually, depending on your preference.

It is up to the adults in this community to fight child abuse and to know when and how to report it. The kids in this community need people to be vigilant and keep them safe. They need to take the reminders from this Child Abuse Prevention Month and apply them throughout the year.

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