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Champions for Children Breakfast

April 4, 2014

Champions for Children Honored at Child Abuse Prevention Breakfast

Posted: Friday, April 4, 2014 12:25 pm | Updated: 3:03 pm, Sat Apr 5, 2014.

On Thursday, Athens County Children Services, the Athens Child Advocacy Center and Athens Court Appointed Special Advocate/Guardian Ad Litem programs hosted a breakfast to honor community partners dedicated to children and families. Child advocates across the state, and the nation are celebrating Child Abuse Prevention Month this April.

“Grounded in the belief that every child has a birth right to grow up free from abuse and neglect, the staff of our three agencies is inspired by the partnership our community provides in protecting the safety and wellbeing of our most vulnerable citizens”, said Catherine Hill, executive director of Athens County Children Services.

“We could not do this important work alone. Each of you, whether a volunteer, law enforcement officer, prosecutor, judge, foster parent, community service provider, public official, social worker, teacher, grand parent or concerned citizen — you play a critical role in protecting children, strengthening families, and securing the future of our community,” Rebecca Miller, Child Advocacy Center director, told a group of more than 50 participants at the breakfast meeting.

Jenny Stotts, CASA/GAL director, welcomed attendees, “We’re here this morning for a celebration. To honor, recognize, and express our thanks to our Outstanding Champions for Children — who have worked tirelessly to serve, protect, and advocate for the children of Athens”.

The most recent edition of the Public Children Services Association of Ohio Factbook from 2012 indicates nearly 120,000 Ohio children were victims of abuse or neglect throughout the state. Athens County Children Services received 1,494 reports of child abuse and neglect that same year. ACCS currently has a pinwheel display honoring the children represented by those reports.

Pinwheels for Prevention is a nationwide public awareness campaign.

“You can see pinwheels popping up all over the state, all over the nation. The pinwheels planted on the lawn on East State Street also symbolize 1,494 adults who took action in 2012 to protect a child. This means, over the course of the year 1,494 citizens raised their voice against child abuse and contacted ACCS to report concerns about a child’s safety and well-being,” Hill said.

“Pinwheels for Prevention also represent a movement that is a call to action in a number of ways in our community. When we shift our focus to prevention, we need to continue to advocate for public policies to assure our children and their families have their basic needs met, that are aimed at putting an end to poverty, unemployment, and homelessness. We need to invest in policies and programs that support healthy child development, parent education and we need to engage our community in the process. Athens is fortunate to have such dedicated community organizations,” Hill continued.

During the event two individuals and one organization were honored as “Outstanding Champion for Children.” Retired Athens County Children Services director Andrea Reik, Presiding Juvenile Court Judge Robert Stewart and the Children Conservation League were all presented with a plaque designating their commitment and dedication to the children of Athens along with a colorful pinwheel made by Passion Works.

A number of other events in Child Abuse Prevention month events and activities will take place throughout April. For information, visit www.athenschildrenservices.com.

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