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Making Families Strong: ID Prevent Child Abuse Conference

April 4, 2008

Boise, ID – Make families stronger and more confident, and there'll be less child abuse and neglect in Idaho. That's the message of the Idaho Children's Trust Fund conference set to start Monday. One of its goals is to come up with ways to convey the urgency of preventing child abuse and neglect.

The Idaho conference follows close on the heels of Thursday's release of a national study by the Centers for Disease Control. It found that one baby in 50 in the United States is neglected or abused.

A keynote speaker at the conference will be Ben Tanzer with Prevent Child Abuse America. He says too many parents feel isolated as they juggle the responsibilities of raising children.

"Parenting is a really tough job. And we don't necessarily do enough to prepare parents, we don't necessarily provide them with the resources that they need."

Tanzer says most abuse and neglect happens at home, or at the hands of someone the child knows. He says those facts need to be talked about more, because the focus now seems to mainly be on "stranger danger" issues, like teaching children not to talk to people they don't know.

"These things are all really important; I don’t want to minimize them. But we've actually sort of misled the public about how these things occur and who the 'predators' are."

A handful of Idaho programs use home visitation as a way to help families deal with stress and behavior issues. Tanzer says those kinds of support systems should be more readily available.

The conference will be held April 7 and 8 at the Doubletree Riverside Hotel, Garden City.

The Idaho Children's Trust Fund provides grants and training for child abuse and neglect prevention throughout the state. More information is available at www.idahochildrenstrustfund.idaho.gov.

Deborah Smith/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - ID