The Ottumwa Courier

Opinion

April 3, 2012

Child abuse prevention is everyone's business

Guest editorial

OTTUMWA — April is nationally recognized as child abuse prevention month. The Wapello County Children’s Alliance will participate in a national movement to raise awareness of the importance of early childhood safety. As a reminder, the Wapello County Children’s Alliance will display blue ribbons at community centers around Ottumwa. The blue ribbon is the national symbol of the prevention of child abuse.

The Children’s Alliance invites the community to celebrate and support families in the upcoming Diversity Conference on April 13 at Indian Hills Community College. The Alliance is sponsoring a session presented by Tom Lazio entitled “Growing Up May Be Hazardous to Your Health.” All participants in that session will receive a free DVD entitled “First Impressions ... Exposure to Violence and a Child’s Developing Brain.” For more information, call 641-683-5281.

The Children’s Alliance works with Wapello/Mahaska Early Childhood Iowa and ICAPP to sponsor services to families to reduce the likelihood of child abuse. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach offers The NEST program to help parents fully grasp the ages and stages of young children. This understanding helps the family function with less stress and creates a nurturing, safe environment. There are weekly classes in English and Spanish. When the parent attends classes, they are rewarded with points. The points can be used to “purchase” diapers, wipes and many other baby items.  For more information, call 641-682-5491.

The Children’s Alliance will also be baking and distributing “Cookies for Caring” this week to say thank you to those agencies in our community who respond when children are harmed and work with family to stop future abuse.

The Children’s Alliance is partnering with Ottumwa Regional Health Center to start a new program to parents of newborns with information about crying patterns for all infants and especially the Period of Purple Crying. The Alliance is also partnering with the Wapello County Public Health Nurses and will be working with other community groups throughout 2012 to educate everyone about the Period of Purple Crying and ways to support parents faced with this crying challenge.

The Wapello County Children’s Alliance is a community organization devoted to the prevention of all types of Child Abuse. “Keeping children safe is everyone’s responsibility,” said Steve Scott, executive director of Prevent Child Abuse Iowa. The Alliance members are citizens and professionals dedicated to the safety of all children. The Children’s Alliance meets at noon on the third Tuesday of every month at the Vine Coffee Shop on the corner of Jefferson Street and Pennsylvania Avenue in Ottumwa. Please join us — you can make a difference in the lives of vulnerable children!

For more information phone 641-682-5491 or go to: www.wapellocountychildrensalliance.com.

Jean Dell is president of the Wapello County Children’s Alliance.

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