Advocacy center raising awareness

Published 10:09 pm Thursday, March 24, 2011

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and the Pike Regional Child Advocacy Center in Troy is gearing up for a month of events and activities to bring the continuing and growing serious problem of child abuse to the forefront.

Although the cost of child abuse is often measured in broken lives, there is also a huge economic cost to Alabamians. According to a 2010 report prepared by the University of Alabama’s Center for Business and Economic Research, child abuse costs Alabamians more than $520 million each year.

The dollar cost is staggering but Mona Watson, Pike Regional CAC director, said that is minimal compare to the “cost” to young children.

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The Pike Regional Child Advocacy Center in Troy opened in May 2005. Since that time, the CAC has opened 1,400 child abuse cases and 27 in the 10 days, Watson said.

“It is most important that we keep the child abuse issue before the public,” Watson said. “The best way to stop child abuse is to prevent it before it starts. Although the month of April is designated as Child Abuse Prevention Month, we work diligently all year long in many ways to prevent child abuse and awareness is the key.”

The prevention programs that the Pike Region CAC has in place include the in-school “Good Touch, Bad Touch” program and parenting programs in-school and also on-site.

Continuing these programs costs dollars and, with difficult economic times, the fundraising efforts associated with Child Abuse Prevention Month are more important than ever, Watson said.

“The Children’s Trust Fund has been zeroed out of the state budget so that means we are going to have to find more ways to fund our prevention programs,” Watson said. A couple of those fundraisers are held in connection with Child Abuse Prevention Month the Blue Ribbon campaign and the CAC tee shirt sale.

“We have large blue ribbons that designate Child Prevention Month for businesses and homes,” Watson said. “The blue ribbons bring attention to this special month and greater awareness to child abuse and the need for prevention programs. The tee shirts may be worn in support of children who have been abused and our programs that work for them and to prevent child abuse.”

Child Abuse Prevention Blue Ribbons are available at the Pike Regional Child Advocacy Center at 118 West Orange Street in Troy or by calling334-670-0487.