April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month
April is set aside to recommit ourselves to ending the vicious cycle of abuse, and to stand up for every child that needs a VOICE! Citizens are encouraged to start wearing blue ribbons in support of National Child Abuse Prevention Month during April.
Every year, in April, Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) of Titus, Camp, and Morris Counties decorates the courthouse in the three counties that CASA of Titus, Camp, and Morris serves. Each courthouse displays 195 blue pinwheels on the courthouse lawn. Each pinwheel represents a child that CASA of Titus, Camp, and Morris County served in 2017.
An Ounce of Prevention/School Health Advisory (SHAC) partners gathered at the Morris County Court House on Tuesday (Apr 3) at 9:30 am for a photo opportunity of all stakeholders of Family Protective Services. Students from Daingerfield Jr. High placed a pinwheel to represent each child served by CASA of Titus, Camp, and Morris County. April 6 was “Go Blue Day.” Everyone was asked to wear blue to show support for our children in foster care and let others in your community know we are standing united and robust against child abuse.
The Morris County, Child Welfare Board, hosted a balloon release on Wed (Apr 4) at West Elementary at 9:30 a.m. and Pewitt Elementary Thursday (Apr 5) at 9:30 a.m. CASA volunteers were present to pass out blue ribbons and stickers for the children.
CASA of Titus, Camp, and Morris Counties (TCM) is one of the 71 CASA programs across Texas. They work to ensure that all children placed in the foster care system, due to abuse or neglect, can have a safe, permeant and nurturing environment that children need to thrive.” said Michelle Cobern. “CASA programs recruit, train and support everyday members of the community to SPEAK UP for the best interests of children in court to ensure that they are placed into loving, permanent homes as quickly as possible. These extraordinary people are called Court Appointed Special Advocates “CASA” Volunteers.”
Last year, 63,657 children were confirmed to be abused and neglected, an 8.5 percent increase from 2016. 50,293 children were in the care and custody of the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) due to abuse or neglect during 2017. 295,485 reports of abuse and neglect were made to DFPS, up 2.1 percent from 2016. 174,740 investigations of abuse and neglect were completed, up 4.8 percent from 2016. 19,782 children were removed and placed in substitute care an increase of 4.2 percent from 2016. CASA of Titus, Camp, and Morris Counties, along with our statewide CASA community, provided 10,424 CASA Volunteers who served 29,747 children in 213 of Texas’ 254 counties over the course of the past year.
“Children in foster care experience a tremendous amount of change and instability. Often, they don’t have a consistent adult that they can rely on – someone to keep them safe, and make sure the public hear their voices. But children with a CASA volunteer typically spend less time in foster care, and receive better access to support and services.” said Cobern.
In a time when so many are focusing on the problems, CASA programs are collaborating with other stakeholders and contributing to the solution. In February, hundreds of CASA volunteers, staff, and board members from the 71 local Texas CASA programs traveled to the Texas State Capitol to bring attention to the challenges facing children and youth in the child welfare system, and to discuss policy priorities aimed at improving outcomes and transforming CPS procedures.
An Ounce of Prevention and area School Health Advisory Councils will have activities on Child Abuse Awareness, and Crime Victim’s in the schools in Daingerfield, Pewitt, and Hughes Springs April 11-14.
CASA has been instrumental in providing a Keynote Speaker as part of a Town Hall Meeting at Daingerfield High School Auditorium April 17 from 6:00-9:00 pm. See more information in the article about CURP (Community Unification and Revitalization Program). Booths with information will be available from 5:00-6:00 pm before the meeting.
April 29 is “Blue Sunday” where churches and Faith-based groups and congregations will be asked to declare, Sunday (Apr 29) as “Blue Sunday.” Churches can receive information and are asked to remind members to be aware of signs of abuse and their duty to respond when they see a child in need. Go to bluesunday.org. Churches are also asked to pray for children in foster care, DFPS workers, and CASA Advocates.
TAKE A STAND for a child in need, visit becomeacasa.org or casatcm.org, or contact 903-767-3679 and get involved.
Every child has a chance – IT’S YOU!