CapitolBeatOK Staff Report
Policymakers, child advocates and community supporters of public funding for child abuse prevention programs will come from across the state to take part in Child Abuse Prevention Day at the Capitol on April 12.
The observance in Oklahoma City will come during what is deemed National Child Abuse Prevention Month. This year, organizers say Oklahoma’s theme is “It’s Your Turn to Make a Difference for a Child.”
A release to CapitolBeatOK explained the perspective of advocacy groups, including the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy: “All children can have a positive start in life if adults around them take small actions to help create a supportive community and family environment so children can grow up and become productive citizens.”
Citing state Department of Health data, Julie Bisbee of the institute said, “There were more than 8,000 confirmations of child abuse or neglect in Oklahoma in 2009. … Forty-one children in Oklahoma died from abuse and/or neglect, according to figures from the Oklahoma Child Death Review Board for fiscal year 2008.”
The “prevention day” activities will include an 11 a.m. discussion in the Governor’s Large Conference Room on the 2nd Floor of the state Capitol. At that event, “Advocates and partners will discuss the need for child abuse prevention programs and introduce a new initiative aimed at reducing and preventing abusive head trauma, also known as shaken baby syndrome.”
Tuesday’s events will include introduction of a DVD to help parents have a plan for when their infant cries inconsolably. Several hospitals across the state are participating in this program and handing out the DVD to parents of newborns when they leave the hospital. The press conference will also highlight the need for continued funding for child abuse prevention programs across the state.