April spotlights challenges to children

By Bill Colvard - bcolvard@MtAiryNews.com
The Children’s Center staff wears blue for #WearBlueDay. - Submitted photo

DOBSON — The Children’s Center is urging action on behalf of children and two statewide child advocacy organizations release information at the beginning of Child Abuse Prevention Month.

The Children’s Center will be taking part in Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina in observing “Wear Blue Day” on Friday — a day dedicated to bringing awareness to effective child abuse and neglect prevention efforts.

“Wear Blue Day is a wonderful opportunity to show the impact we can all have on the families and children in our communities,” said Sharon Hirsch, Prevent Child Abuse NC president and CEO. “From public health officials to law enforcement officers to parent advocates, Wear Blue Day is a chance to show the different ways everyone can invest upstream in prevention, no matter who you are. This is about all of us.”

This year, Prevent Child Abuse NC will use Wear Blue Day to highlight ways that people can prevent child abuse by mentoring, donating or becoming advocates in their community.

A statement from the Children’s Center suggests getting involved in Wear Blue day by wearing blue on April 6 and telling people you are participating in a day to highlight the importance of investing upstream in children and families.

The folks there suggest taking a picture of yourself and your colleagues all dressed in blue and sharing it on your favorite social media platform using the #WearBlueDay hashtag, or sharing a story of how you help mentor children, advocate for policies that keep kids safe. They also suggest donating time or money to a local child-serving organization and inspire others to get involved during Child Abuse Prevention Month.

“We encourage everyone in Surry County to check out the hashtag #WearBlueDay on Twitter and Facebook to see how they can get involved during Child Abuse Prevention Month,” said Robin Testerman, Children’s Center executive director.

“North Carolina spends $2 billion annually in downstream costs, in social services, medical costs, juvenile justice, education, foster care, and more.” said Hirsch. “We know that when we invest upstream in programs that are built on science, we can strengthen families and help reduce child abuse and neglect.”

Data card released

NC Child, a statewide advocacy group that authors report cards on child poverty in the state, has released new data cards. The new Surry County Data Card shows that child poverty and hunger remain problems for children in the county.

Living in poor or near-poor homes are 58.4 percent of Surry County children, a major risk factor for negative educational, health, and economic outcomes in the future. Additionally, 23.7 percent of Surry County children live in food insecure households, putting at risk their immediate health, safety and ability to learn.

“Big problems demand big solutions,” said Michelle Hughes, executive director of NC Child. “Each year, our elected representatives have an extraordinary opportunity to use public policy to improve the lives of children and families.”

The data snapshot shows how children and families are faring in 15 key areas of well-being. Aside from family financial security, North Carolina and Surry County are making halting progress toward improving children’s health and education.

In 2016, 75.5 percent of women in Surry County received early prenatal care in 2016 vs. 68.9 percent in 2015. Statewide, 69 percent of women received early prenatal care. Related statistics show 6.9 percent of babies were born at a low birth weight in 2016 vs 10.3 percent in 2015. Statewide, 9 percent of babies were born at a low birth weight.

In 2017, 90.6 percent of high school students graduated on time compared to 90.1 percent in 2016. Statewide, 86.5 percent graduated on time.

“Marginal progress is better than no progress, but the fact remains that our state’s children face far too many barriers to success. Treading water isn’t good enough,” said Whitney Tucker, research director at NC Child. “North Carolina’s children demand our best efforts to improve their circumstances now so they can thrive in the future.”

For more information about Children’s Center of Surry, Inc. contact Robin Testerman at robin@surrychildren.com and 336-386-9144.

For more information on child abuse prevention or to learn more about what you can do to help, visit Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina on the web at www.preventchildabusenc.org or contact Kristie Demers, communications coordinator, at 919-829-8009, ext. 619 or kdemers@preventchildabusenc.org.

The Children’s Center staff wears blue for #WearBlueDay.
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/web1_Children-27s-Center-Child-Abuse-Prevention-2018.jpgThe Children’s Center staff wears blue for #WearBlueDay. Submitted photo

By Bill Colvard

bcolvard@MtAiryNews.com

Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.

Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.