National Child Abuse Prevention Month observed

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 9, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and the Central Alabama Child Advocacy Center plans to spend the 30-day observance educating the public.

“We’ve got all kinds of literature that we want to distribute,” said Jessica Hope, CAC executive director. “I’ve done PSAs for the radio station and we’re going to be having a silent auction to raise money for the prevention of child abuse.”

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Though it is not yet scheduled, the silent auction is planned for the end of the month, Hope said.

Twenty-nine community-based members of the Alabama Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers are collaborating this month to fight for abused children. This year, the Network is promoting a poster campaign to inform the public, legislators and potential funding sources about the serious repercussions of child abuse.

Since opening at its current location on Bell Road in Selma, the Central Alabama CAC provides a safe haven for child abuse victims. According to the 2006 Alabama Kids Count Data Book, 10,110 children in Alabama were reported to have had an indication of abuse and neglect in 2005. The Alabama Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers’ Board of Directors reported 9,188 services were provided to thousands of children by way of CACs last year.

Hope said CAC multidisciplinary teams, comprised of law enforcement officials, DHR officials, district attorney’s office representatives and mental health specialists designated to interview victims, have worked closely together to convict child sex abusers. Hope said since convictions are rising, “we’re hoping a message will be sent out.”

Hope said the CAC has received calls from residents asking what they can do to help, adding the center recently received a donation from Alabama Power. To commemorate National Child Abuse Prevention Month, the CAC is distributing blue ribbons

For more information, call 334-872-5200 or visit the Web site,