Rally Helps Spread Awareness On Child Abuse Prevention Month

  • 4/11/2018 11:31:16 AM
  • Sartaj Singh
  • Local News

MANSFIELD, OH - Graham Automall held a Wear Blue Day Rally in order to help spread awareness that child abuse is preventable. 

The month of April is known nationally as Child Abuse Prevention Month. It's an opportunity for communities to spread awareness about child abuse and neglect within their own neighborhoods and for individual citizens to educate themselves about the issue.

"It's just a way for us to let the community know that our agency is open 24/7, 7 days a week, 365 days a year." Tim Harless, Richland County Children Services Director said. "It does take a community to raise a child. If you see something that does not feel right, make a call to the agency."

RCCS is asking local businesses, offices, schools, agencies, factories, retail outlets, media outlets, and other organizations to wear blue on this day to help spread awareness. Those who participate are invited to send in pictures to the agency, and they will be posted to the RCCS website and Facebook pages.

In 2017, Richland County Children Services (RCCS) investigated more than 1600 allegations of abuse and neglect, and agency caseworkers were involved with 389 open and ongoing cases involving more than 773 local children.

It can be difficult to know how to help with such an overwhelming issue. RCCS Executive Director Patricia Harrelson says that if you see any behavior even remotely questionable between a child and an adult, you should call it into Children Services. "I think any time you see something that concerns you, it doesn't necessarily mean it's going to rise to the level where we can take the case, but make the call. That's our role, it's to try to sort out within our state guidelines what we can and cannot accept," she said.

She also encourages citizens to vote in favor of their levy when the opportunity arises, which provides the agency with most of its funding.

Harrelson says there is a high demand right now for foster parents, especially for teenagers. Keeping them in their home county in a family-like environment can be potentially crucial for their well-being, and right now many children have to be sent somewhere out of the county because of a lack of available foster families. If being a foster parent sounds too intimidating, you can also arrange to be one of the agency's Respite Homes, which would give a child a safe place to stay for a night if they suddenly found themselves in a dangerous situation. 

The agency will be hosting their 24-hour Swim/Bike/Run event on April 20th and 21st at the Mansfield YMCA.

For more information, call 419-774-4100 or visit the agency's website. Child abuse and neglect can be reported to RCCS's same number, which is a 24/7 hotline. Runaway children are also posted on the agency's Facebook page.

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