By Don Saylor, Chair of the Yolo County Children’s Alliance
and Member of the Yolo County Board of Supervisors, District 2
Child abuse is a national tragedy. An estimated 3 million children are the victims of substantiated abuse or neglect each year in the United States. In California during 2012, nearly 500,000 children were referred to Child Welfare Services for investigation of abuse and/or neglect.
In our own county, during fiscal year 2011-12, the Department of Employment and Social Services, Child Welfare Services, received 1,398 reports of suspected child abuse and/or neglect. Resulting investigations led to 251 children in child-welfare supervised placements.
During the same time period, approximately 95 children each month continued living with their families while the families received ongoing support services and supervision through the Yolo County Child Welfare Services Family Maintenance Program. In addition, 96 children each month received Family Reunification services aimed at returning them to their homes of origin.
On the good news front, in Yolo County we have numerous public agencies and community organizations, parents, relatives, community volunteers, public policymakers and professionals who are collaborating to eliminate child abuse through the Yolo Family Strengthening Network.
The Yolo Family Strengthening Network offers parents the education, support, and skills they need to provide healthy, safe and nurturing homes for their children. Resource materials can be downloaded from www.yolokids.org/community. Our local program is based on the national Strengthening Families Program; an evidence-based family skills training program. Mistreatment of children decreases as parents learn more effective parenting skills, and the program has been proven to significantly reduce problem behaviors, delinquency, and alcohol and drug abuse in children. It also improves social competencies and school performance.
Another program aimed at strengthening families, The Yolo Family Meals Campaign, invites the community at large to post photos on the Yolo County Children’s Alliance web site of their family dinners, kid-friendly recipes and conversation topics that get your children talking at the table.
We hope hundreds of Yolo County residents will get involved in child abuse prevention.
Two ways that are fun include the Yolo County Children’s Alliance and Child Abuse Prevention Council’s 4th Annual Yolo County Celebrity Fashion Show on Friday, April 26th in West Sacramento and the annual Child Abuse Prevention Fun Run on April 28th in Davis. For tickets go to www.yolokids.org or call 530-757-5558.
Copyright News-Ledger 2013