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Child Abuse Prevention Month: Connect the Dots for Hope

PHOTO: About 200 people gathered on the Capitol steps in Boise to kick off Child Abuse Prevention Month in Idaho yesterday. Photo credit: Deborah C. Smith
PHOTO: About 200 people gathered on the Capitol steps in Boise to kick off Child Abuse Prevention Month in Idaho yesterday. Photo credit: Deborah C. Smith
April 9, 2015

BOISE, Idaho - Law enforcement officers, students and social workers were among the 200 people who kicked off Child Abuse Prevention Month on the Capitol steps in Boise on Wednesday.

Speakers described the topic as one that's traditionally been painful to bring up, but which needs to be discussed to prevent abuse and neglect.

Marian Woods, a program manager for Idaho's child welfare services, says there's actually good news to share, because research shows it's possible to protect children – but everyone has a role to play, especially in establishing social connections.

"When we see a parenting action that makes us uncomfortable," says Woods, "we suspend judgment about it and step in and say how can I help?"

She says another important protective factor is concrete support for families during times of stress, such as losing a job or experiencing a health emergency.

Roger Sherman, executive director of the Idaho Children's Trust Fund, presented a new child abuse prevention initiative called Connect the Dots, in which everyone is invited to think about their "dot" in the social fabric of creating safe childhoods.

"For some people it's going to be prevention of child sexual abuse education work," says Sherman. "Maybe it's working with incarcerated moms, but it might also be something simple like donating diapers, helping out a Girl Scout troop or a soccer team."

Idahoans can log their "dot" to improve children's lives at WhatsYourDot.org.

Child Abuse Prevention Month events are scheduled in Caldwell on Friday and Saturday.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - ID