By TYLER MASK
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and for the first time ever, Palo Pinto County Child Welfare Board, formerly known as PPCCPS Board, PPC Children's Alliance Center and CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) are banning together to make the most of this month-long venture. Their campaign, entitled, Go Blue For Kids!, began April 1, with a kick-off luncheon and will run through April 29.
“We have been putting on a big push in the last six years to [promote] awareness here in Palo Pinto County,” CWB President Connie Ball said. “Back in the 1980s, when I got on the board, there were maybe 16 or 17 kids in protective custody or foster care. Christmas this year we had 112, and we are up to 133 children [now] in foster care. There were 198 proven cases last year. And out of those, several of them wer
taken into custody.”
Ball believes the prime reason for this growth is because more abuse is taking place. From babies being born with methamphetamine in their system to children living in unsanitary conditions, PPC sees the whole gamut of child abuse.
In cases involving methamphetamine and things of that caliber, Ball said that the children are removed immediately. In other “less serious” cases, such as unsanitary conditions, Ball said that CPS and other programs work with families to create safer atmospheres for the children.
Ball also believes the numbers have grown because awareness programs are becoming more affective in getting the word out.
“CPS is involved, but there are more people that are not afraid to call the 800 number,” Ball said. “It's better to call and it not be an abusive situation than to ignore it.”
The following dates are slated with Go Blue! events:
• April 3, CAC purse bingo.
• April 8, County pinwheel presentation.
• April 9, Go Blue Day.
• April 14, Balloon Release.
• April 24 CWB Stars Shine Fundraiser.
• April 27, Blue Day.
• April 29, Day of prayer and CAC open house.