Date for resource fair set
by Paisley Boston
Mar 22, 2014 | 3393 views | 0 0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Bolivar County Department of Human Services Division of Family and Children Services is set to host a Child Abuse and Awareness Resource Fair April 4.

The event is set to take place at the United Family Life Center in Cleveland between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

According to Family Protection Specialist Johnnie Rushing the purpose of the event is to educate the public on preventative measures that can be taken to help combat child abuse and neglect.

According to the Mississippi Department of Health and Human Services an estimated 686,000 children were victims of abuse and neglect in 2013 and 51 states reported approximately 3.8 million children received preventative services from Child Protective Services agencies in the United States.

Children younger than one year had the highest rate of victimization of 21.9 per 1,000 children in the national population of the same age.

One or more of the child victim's parents caused approximately 80 percent of reported child fatalities as a result of abuse and neglect.

"Awareness needs to be raised about the effect of child abuse. Sometimes when children are abused or neglected, they act out as adults and they don’t know who to turn to," said Rushing.

"We want to let abuse children and vulnerable adults know know that there are services that can help them cope with their abuse," she added.

In accordance with Section 43-21-105 of the Mississippi Code of 1972, an abused child is a child whose parent, guardian, or custodian or any person responsible for his care or support, whether legally obligated to do so or not, has caused or allowed to be caused upon said child sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, emotional abuse, mental injury, non-accidental physical injury or other maltreatment.

Provided, however that physical discipline, including spanking, performed on a child by a parent, guardian or custodian in a reasonable manner shall not be deemed abuse under this section.

"This event really touches my heart because I love working with the public and working with children. I have worked with children all of my life in some capacity.

There is no particular age group – children are being abused and we try help them from age 0-18 years of age," added Rushing.

The fair is an effort to help the public to understand the critical reality of child abuse and neglect.

"We want people to be aware of the different resources for families in the community. Healthy environments are essential to the safety and well-being of children and their families," continued Rushing.

The mission of the fair is to prevent child abuse and neglect, preserve families, provide services to maintain a safe home and make the public aware of the different resources available to them.

"This year will be a little different than it has been in the past because usually we just have a guest speaker but this year we will have representatives from various places that focus on preventing child abuse. We will have people from Family Resource Centers and behavior clinics," she added.

According to the Mississippi Department of Health and Human Services there are various forms of abuse such as emotional, verbal, sexual, neglect and physical abuse.

"All forms of abuse can have a psychological impact on a child or adult. We will have various booths setup such as hospitals, health centers and psychological treatment centers and some dignitaries from Jackson," she continued.

"We are soliciting donations in the form of checks, money orders, food or any other item that will help make our program a success," said Rushing.

Individuals who desire to contribute a monetary donation can make a check payable to: Bolivar County Department of Human Services.

For more information contact Rushing at 662-843-0294.