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Board Proclaims April to be “Child Abuse Prevention Month” in County

March 27, 2013

The Placer County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to proclaim April to be “Child Abuse Prevention Month” throughout the county.

The proclamation approved by the board urges citizens to join with the county’s Child Abuse Prevention Council at KidsFirst, Inc. in activities next month aimed at promoting awareness of effective ways to prevent child abuse. KidsFirst has worked for more than 24 years to raise community awareness while helping thousands of families resolve situations that threaten the safety and well-being of children.

CEO Lisa Velarde and Board of Supervisors Chairman  Jim Holmes

KidsFirst CEO Lisa Velarde and Board of Supervisors Chairman
Jim Holmes are holding a proclamation approved by the Board
Tuesday proclaiming April to be “Child Abuse Prevention Month”
in Placer County.

“I look forward to doing what we can to continue supporting you in the critical mission that you serve here in this county,” Supervisor Kirk Uhler told KidsFirst officials who attended Tuesday’s meeting.

“Thanks for all your good work,” added board Chairman Jim Holmes.

During the meeting, board members also received an update on programs offered by the Placer County Children’s System of Care (CSOC) and partner agencies that seek to prevent child abuse and treat victims quickly and effectively.

The Children’s System of Care is working with partners such as KidsFirst and Family Resource Centers at the local level to prevent abuse through parent education, early intervention and other programs.

The update focused on:

  • The vital role of local parent education and early-intervention programs in preventing child abuse; and
  • A new drive to explore possible regional approaches for treating victims of early-childhood trauma.

During the update, Children’s System of Care Director Richard Knecht told board members that his teams are working locally with community-based partners and regionally with other counties on emerging approaches for providing timely, effective treatment to the youngest victims of severe abuse.

Recent research has documented how early trauma influences the later well-being and health of victims. In a report to the board, Knecht emphasized that severe child abuse may often play a role in the development of later mental illness and social or behavioral problems.

“The more acute stress a child is exposed to, the more likely it is that he or she will have difficulty with social and emotional functioning in childhood, exhibit cognitive problems, fail in school and have high levels of mental health and substance abuse challenges as an adult,” he explained. He noted that untreated trauma can contribute to chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and lung disease.

Knecht reported that on Feb. 8, Placer County hosted 17 other Northern California counties participating in a day-long symposium focused on possible development of a regional approach for treating victims of early, severe trauma. “Among many exciting opportunities discussed was working with private-sector partners to create a regional treatment center for young trauma victims,” he explained.

He also noted that more than 400 people attended a Feb. 22 symposium that raised awareness of one form of abuse: the trafficking and selling of young people for sex. The symposium was sponsored by Courage House Inc. and hosted by William Jessup University in Rocklin.

The number of child abuse cases reported in Placer County has been steady in recent years, but CSOC and other agencies are seeing more families impacted by substance abuse and have witnessed a small increase in cases of domestic violence, which is a form of child abuse when it occurs around children.

Placer County fields approximately 4,200 calls for suspected abuse or neglect annually. CSOC provides intervention, support, treatment and placement services to children and families who are at risk of, or who have been abused.

Placer County, KidsFirst and other partner organizations provide prevention and support services to more than 12,000 Placer parents and other caregivers each year.