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CAC gears up for child abuse prevention

The Pike Regional Child Advocacy Center opened in May 2005. On Monday, March 22, 2010, the CAC opened its 933rd alleged child abuse case.

That number alone is staggering but it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Mona Watson, CAC director, said there is no way to know how many incidents of child abuse are never reported or never acknowledged.

“But the numbers are being greatly reduced because the word is out that child abusers are not getting away with it,” Watson said. “Children are learning that it’s all right to tell and they are telling. And, adults are not getting away with abusing children. They are being punished.”

The Pike Regional CAC has programs in place to make children aware of child abuse.

“We go into the schools with our ‘Good Touch Bad Touch’ program for the second, fifth and seventh grades,” Watson said. “We also have a program for ‘at risk’ students who display social or emotional problems or need some form of anger management. We have a program for young parents designed to help them be good parents. These programs help head off problems before they start.”

Watson said the key to stopping child abuse before it happens is awareness.

“By bringing awareness to child abuse, we can prevent it,” she said. “And that’s what we are working so hard to do. Right now, we are gearing up for Child Abuse Prevention Month. April is considered child abuse prevention month and, all across the United States, people are joining hands against child abuse.”

Raising awareness also means raising funds because the Pike Regional CAC receives no funding for prevention.

“The Pike Regional CAC is a non-profit organization,” Watson said. “There are some funds available for intervention but non for prevention. So fundraising is huge.”

Child Abuse Prevention Month is a prime time for awareness activities and fundraisers.

April 5 has been designated Proclamation Day. The mayors of the four county municipalities will join together in encouraging the Pike County community to participate in activities that raise awareness about the horrible problems associated with the abuse of children.

The Pike Regional CAC has several fundraisers planned for the month. The blue ribbons that are being displayed at area businesses and private homes are visible signs of the community’s support of Child Abuse Prevention Month.

“We have a few blue ribbons still available for a donation of $10,” Watson said. “We also have available our ‘It Should Not Hurt to be a Child’ yellow tee shirts with the blue PRCAC logo. The tee shirts are also $10 each.”

The ribbons and tee shirts may be purchased by calling the Pike Regional CAC at 670-0487.

“This year, we are also having a Boston butt/rib sale and the response so far has been really good,” Watson said. “The Boston butts are $20 each and a smoked rack of ribs is $15. Both must be preordered by April 1 for pickup on April 8 and 9.”

The school children of Pike County have an opportunity to participate in the fundraising efforts of the CAC.

“We place coin collection canisters in the Pike County and Troy City schools and the classes that donate the most money are treated with a pizza party,” Watson said. “We also have a poster contest for the school children and the winners receive a basket of goodies. All of this is geared toward raising awareness about child abuse and preventing it before it happens. With all of us working together, we can stop child abuse because it really shouldn’t hurt to be a child.”

For more information or to have someone speak to a club or organization about the Pike Regional CAC, contact Mona Watson at 670-0487.