April is Child Abuse & Neglect Prevention Month

Published 10:00 pm Friday, March 24, 2017

The Towns of Columbus and Tryon and City of Saluda recently approved a proclamation in support of April being Child Abuse & Neglect Prevention Month.

Saluda City Council met March 13 and heard from Dr. Gordon Schneider, Columbus Town Council met March 16 and heard from Lou Parton and Dr. John Kornmayer and Tryon Town Council met March 21 and heard from B.J. Bayne and Jessica Powell, all members of the Polk County Child Protection Team.

Child Protection Team members said 58 children have been placed in the legal custody of the Polk County Department of Social Service (DSS) since last July, which is more already this fiscal year than all of last year. Parton and Bayne both spoke of the long-term effect on children and families as well as impacts on the community.

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An awareness walk is planned for Friday, April 7 from 4-7 p.m. at Stearns Park in Columbus. Pinwheels will also be placed around the county beginning in April. Anyone wanting to order pinwheels this year can do so through Be A Voice For Kids. See page 20 for information on training opportunities through Be A Voice 4 Kids.

Following is the proclamation Columbus, Tryon and Saluda approved:

WHEREAS, our children are our most valuable resources and will shape the future of Polk County; and

WHEREAS, every child deserves to be loved, cared for, secure and safe and it is the responsibility of our communities to promote every child’s right to a safe, happy and healthy environment; and

WHEREAS, in 2016, 260 reports were made to Polk County Child Protective Services; and

WHEREAS, child abuse and neglect not only cause immediate harm to children, but can have long-term psychological, emotional and physical effects that can have lifelong consequences for victims of abuse and can increase the likelihood of criminal behavior, substance abuse, health problems and risky behavior; and

WHEREAS, preventing child abuse and neglect is a community responsibility affecting both the current and future quality of life of Polk County and finding solutions depends on involvement among all people; and

WHEREAS, protective factors are conditions that reduce or eliminate risk and promote the social, emotional and developmental well-being of children; and

WHEREAS, we must make every effort to promote programs and activities that benefit children and their families; and

WHEREAS, effective child abuse prevention programs succeed because of partnerships among child welfare, citizens, agencies, schools, religious organizations, law enforcement agencies and the business community; and

WHEREAS, prevention remains the best defense for our children and families;

The towns’ mayors, Columbus Mayor Eric McIntyre, Saluda Mayor Fred Baisden and Tryon Mayor Alan Peoples proclaimed April 2017 as Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month in their towns and called upon all citizens, community agencies, faith groups, medical facilities, elected leaders and businesses to recognize this month by dedicating ourselves to the task of improving the quality of life for all children and families, thereby, preventing child abuse and neglect and strengthening the community in which we live.