Santa Clara County Proclaims April As Child Abuse Prevention Month

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Child Abuse Prevention

The County of Santa Clara's Department of Family and Children's Services receives an average of 17,000 reports of child abuse a year.

The County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors will join other local and state governments in proclaiming the month of April "Child Abuse Prevention Month."

"Although the vast majority of children living in the county come from nurturing homes, our department receives an average of 50 child abuse reports every day, " said Norma Doctor Sparks, Director of the Department of Family and Children's Services. "We need to work together to ensure that families are connected with the help they need, and that no child is left at risk."

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The Social Services Agency has launched an aggressive public awareness campaign to encourage residents to get involved for the sake of thousands of abused and neglected children in Santa Clara County. Too often friends, relatives, and neighbors do not intervene when they suspect that a child is being abused, either because they are embarrassed, feel helpless, or do not know how to discuss the matter with the abusing parent. Many fear having a confrontation with the adult and don't know what advice to give, so they choose not to act. The campaign stresses that child abuse in Santa Clara County is everybody's business.

"We all deserve to be treated with respect and dignity," said Board of Supervisor's Chairperson Don Gage. "If we do not defend our children, we cannot free them from the cycle of abuse that so many have been pushed into."

County of Santa Clara Supervisors see the Child Abuse Prevention Month proclamation as an opportunity to alert the community and to educate struggling families about available resources. "Children are defenseless against abusive adults," said Supervisor Ken Yeager, Chair of the Board's Children, Seniors and Families Committee. "Each one of us helps to shape the future of every child in Santa Clara County by what we do or don't do to protect them."

Overwhelming financial problems, trouble at work, substance abuse, domestic violence and mental illness are often involved in cases of abuse. Wealth, religious affiliation and family upbringing are no guarantee that a parent will not abuse or neglect their child. Some abusers were raised in abusive homes and did not develop positive parenting skills because they did not have an example to emulate. The Department of Family and Children's Services has created a new brochure in English, Spanish and Vietnamese, which includes a list of resources and tips on how to prevent and report child abuse. Public Service Announcements will also appear in print and on radio to reinforce the message that child abuse prevention is everybody's business.

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