Apr 2, 2012

April is Child Abuse and Neglect Awareness Month

On March 28, Darke County Commissioners Mike Rhoades, Mike Stegall and Diane Delaplane proclaimed April as Child Abuse and Neglect Awareness Month. Joining them were (standing, l-r)Tim Tyo, investigative supervisor Job and Family Services; Joseph Badell, Developmental Disabilities; Janie Christman, CAP; Annie Sonner, Darke County Shelter from Violence; Mike Gray, ESC Superintendent; Susan Riegle, Greenville City School Superintendent; Linda Bundy, Shelter from Violence; Kelly Ormsby, Darke County Prosecutor; Rebecca James, Children Services Supervisor; Jody Cantrell, Family and Children First Service Coordinaotr; Kay Robbins, CASA Director; Margaret Hayes, Juvenile Judge. Seated to the right of the commissioners is Jason Aslinger, Darke County Juvenile Judge. Greenville Mayor Mike Bowers was unavailable for the photo.

GREENVILLE—For those who think child abuse and neglect is not an issue, think again. The Darke County Job and Family Services/Children Services team of 11 has been busy. From July 1, 2011 through Feb. 29, 2012, Children Services had contact with approximately 1,226 children and adults through reports, contacts, intervention, prevention and court orders.
According to Rebecca James, Children Services, drug and alcohol played a major role in putting children at risk in 2011. The agency was involved with approximately 85 infants, children and adults who were affected by drug and alcohol abuse during that year. “Some of the situations that have required our involvement are almost beyond belief,” said James.  “Children Services agencies across the country are involved with prenatal drug exposure and children exposed to drug use in their living environment. We keep one of our partners, Darke County Recovery Services, rather busy with referrals.”
Children Services logged 946 calls during the work day and after hours. Of those calls, 489 were related to community concerns regarding child physical abuse, sexual abuse and neglect. The Investigative Unit opened 106 cases as investigations or “Family in Need of Services” cases. These 106 cases included formal investigations, family requests for services and linkage to services.
The On-going Unit provided oversight to 53 children in the custody of Children Services during 2011 while an additional 48 children were either court-ordered to protective supervision or their parents voluntarily agreed to work with Children Services. Four adoptions were finalized in addition to maintaining 13 Darke County foster homes. On-going Unit staff additionally complete home studies for foster and adoptive homes, foster home certification, and re-certification, courtesy supervision, and coordination of adoption subsidy cases.
Many families receive prevention intervention through the Family-Centered Services and Supports (FCSS) program. The FCSS staff continues to work with parents who voluntarily request guidance and assistance with crises and family dynamics that affect the safety and well being of their children. FCSS currently works with 83 children and 57 adults in 38 cases in an attempt to preserve families as an alternative to removing children. Noteworthy is that substance abuse impacts the healthy functioning of 66% of those 38 families.
James commented, “2011 was another productive year of partnering with community providers. I cannot express enough gratitude and respect for the agencies, churches, groups and individuals that work with Children Services to find some solutions to tough problems. We have all been challenged to find solutions given diminishing resources. Sometimes the solution is a short term or band aid approach. However, those approaches can keep a family together until a more permanent solution can be found. There are several groups and churches that assist our families if we call and say ‘We have a situation with a child or family. Can your help?’ Invariably that help comes through and lessens the seriousness of the immediate situation. We feel very fortunate to work with many good people throughout Darke County.”
Please watch for more articles in The Early Bird regarding Child Abuse Awareness activities this month.

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