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April is Child Abuse Month: Child Abuse IS Preventable

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Lane County statistics show that one in three adults have experienced child abuse or neglect in their lives and 23,000 Lane County children and youth have experienced child abuse or neglect.
Further information gathered through the Oregon Child Abuse Prevalence Study suggests that Lane County residents believe that child abuse and neglect can be prevented when:* kids are connected
* families are supported
*community members take positive action90by30’s goal is to get ahead of the problem to stop the abuse before it starts. To that end, the county was divided into seven regions, with the East Lane Region supporting communities of Pleasant Hill, Jasper, Fall Creek, Dexter, Lowell, Westfir and Oakridge.

Susan Hardy photo

The first strategy, aimed at preventing child abuse and neglect, implemented in East Lane was Roots of Empathy. Empathy is foundational to helping children navigate relationships, form connections, and be inclusive of others. This strategy is offered in at least 30 first grade classrooms in Lane County. Lowell’s Lundy Elementary School also added another class for the 6th grade this school year.

Trained volunteers, the parents of an infant between 2 and 4 moths old, and the infant sit on a big green blanket surrounded by a classroom of first graders. The instructor leads the children through activities that are meant to teach them to understand how the baby feels and reacts and develops.
Increased empathy in children results in increased acts of compassion and kindness among children and decreases in aggressive behavior.

Another strategy implemented in the East Lane Region is the Welcome Baby program. This program provides a welcome baby gift for every baby born in our region and includes a visit to these families within 3 weeks before the baby is born until 3 weeks after the baby is born. “Foster Grandparents” (approved for this program) deliver the Welcome Baby Bundle and make contact with the family and do appropriate follow-up contact. The gift includes items such as a tote bag or sleep system, a tummy time quilt and a baby cap made by community members, a Period of Purple Crying video or app and a resource binder and many other items.

The Foster Grandparents strategy is in the process of expanding.

Another Strategy in the works is Safe Families which encourages and offers opportunities for families of children to connect with other adults who can be of service to parents and children.
For more information about how you can become involved in 90by30’s work to decrease child abuse by 90% by 2030 visit the K(no)w More website at http://knowmorelanecounty.org, or call Susan Hardy at 541-912-3308

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