Alachua County Child Abuse Prevention Month
It's been said it takes a village to raise a child. In Alachua County that was the idea behind the "Celebrate the Child" event this afternoon. Many in the community came together at the Tower Road Library in Southwest Gainesville today to help families and to prevent child abuse.
Alachua County had 1200 documented cases of child abuse in 2010. Which is twice the state average. That's why local organizations put on an event, to help support families in our area, who need help now more than ever.
UF Child Abuse Prevention Project Program Director and Chair of the Alachua County Child Abuse Prevention Task Force Annie McPherson said, "It's kind of one parent at a time."
And one by one or two by two, they came. But it wasn't just for the bouncy house and face painting. Each booth at the education and prevention focused event, showcased a different service that families can utilize in raising their children.
Another big draw was sign up for the free state volunteer pre-kindergarten program. Mary Beth Yokomi came to sign her three year old daughter Kaylee up for VPK. She said, "Getting her a head start...getting her ready for kindergarten. Preparing her for the world ahead, you know."
Executive Director of the Early Learning Coalition of Alachua County Gordon Tremaine said, "The more prepared we are for school, the more we will thrive in school. The more they thrive in school, the more they're prepared for their life after that."
The reason why so many services including a mobile outreach clinic, nutrition and child care were included: a comprehensive effort.
McPherson said, "So when you talk about child abuse prevention, you're really talking about parenting, you're talking about home life (what's going on in the home). You're also talking about someone having a job, having child care so you can go to your job."
McPherson says that through education and support, child abuse is absolutely preventable. But the community is key. She said, "If we have a commitment to do that, as a group, then we can do it. it takes all of us."
For more information on child abuse prevention and services for families in our area visit http://capp.peds.ufl.edu or www.childrensweek.org.
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