The community recognizes April as Child Abuse Prevention Month
Steve Ranson/LVN Fallon City Councilor Kelly Frost, left, and Churchill County Commission Chairman Pete Olsen present a proclamation declaring April Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Commission Chairman Pete Olsen and Councilwoman Kelly Frost, who replaced Mayor Ken Tedford, read a proclamation on behalf of the two government agencies.
Essentially, the proclamation stated that “strategies to prevent child maltreatment succeed through partnerships created between citizens, social service agencies, schools, faith communities, health care providers, civic backgrounds, law enforcement and the business community.
Additionally, the proclamation encourages the safety of community residents: “As America’s premier community, Churchill County aims to ensure the public safety of our residents of all ages and, in partnership with organizations such as Prevent Child Abuse Nevada, seeks to provide services to protect the lives of our citizens.
Olsen said more than 400 cases have been recorded in Churchill County based on the latest 2021 statistics. As he has done at previous ceremonies, he is raising awareness of child abuse.
Pinwheels swirled in the gentle breeze behind Olsen and other speakers in the small park and also in other parts of town. The blue and white pinwheel is a national symbol for the prevention of child abuse.
Sheriff Richard Hickox has appealed to area residents to be more vigilant when reporting cases of child abuse. Furthermore, he said the community should be the “voice of the voiceless”.
Hickox also posted an additional comment on the Churchill County Sheriff‘s Office Facebook page.
“Child abuse comes in many forms, but is generally categorized into four types, physical, emotional, sexual and neglect.
“To end this problem, we as a society need to recognize the signs that someone is being abused and report it to the proper authorities. We understand that you may not want to get involved or file a report that turns out to be false, I ask you to call anyway.
Hickox urged residents not to ignore abuse but to report it.
“We need to end the stigma around talking about it and do what we can to help the victims of these actions,” he added.
Hickox, who wore a bright blue shirt at the ceremony, encourages others to wear blue on Fridays in April.
Churchill County School District Superintendent Dr. Summer Stephens said it is important to reduce child abuse in the county, and she is grateful for the partnerships that provide children with everything they need.
“We want the best for every child we see today,” she said.
Stephens said school district staff are trained to report possible child abuse. She added that the families were encountering more stress and pressure than before.
CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) Program Manager Shana Clark-Pount and Tracy Runnels discussed their respective programs. CASA has volunteers who work towards one main goal and that is to provide the best for children. Runnels is part of the Churchill Community Coalition and is a board member of Domestic Violence Intervention.
Clark-Pount, who attended the event at Millennium Park, brought Hank, the therapy dog, with her. She said CASA has 11 volunteers helping with more than 20 cases involving children.
Runnels said the goal was to connect families and create positive behavior. She said community partners reached out to agencies for an extra pair of hands.