032410chain.jpgOur children are the future and it is our duty to love, educate and protect them. During April, which is Child Abuse Prevention Month, we pay special attention to the problem of child abuse.

Child abuse and neglect reports rose 32 percent during the second half of 2009 in Cumberland County. During a six-month period in 2009, the county Department of Social Services logged reports of 3,647 children who may have been abused or neglected.

Cumberland County Schools, The Child Advocacy Center, the Cumberland County Department of Social Services, Cumberland County Family Court, Cumberland County Partnership for Children, Fort Bragg Army Community Services, Fort Bragg Schools and the Cumberland County Guardian Ad Litem Program are hosting a Break the Chain of Child Abuse ceremony on Thursday, March 25 from 9-10 a.m. at the Crown Coliseum Agri-Expo Center.

“The purpose of this event is to bring together community stakeholders with a passion for decreasing child maltreatment rates in Cumberland County,” said Pamela Story, Cumberland County Schools’ social work coordinator.

The itinerary includes a skit performed by students from the Fuller Performance Learning Center and Judge Elizabeth Keever will read Mayor Tony Chavonne’s proclamation. The culminating activity involves Senator Margaret Dickson leading the students in breaking the chain that symbolizes the need to prevent child abuse in our city.

There will also be displays and opportunities for the students to have their picture taken with local dignitaries. Champion for Children awards will be presented to the professional, volunteer and agency/ group who have gone beyond the call of duty to reduce child abuse in our community. Nominations were provided through community referrals.

“Maltreatment can be physical abuse, sexual abuse and neglect,” said Story. “If anyone suspects a child is being abused or neglected please call Child Protective Services at 677-2450.”

Story added that this event promises to be bigger than ever and every Cumberland County school will be represented.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact your child’s school social worker, guidance counselor or Story at 678-2621.

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