Dunebrook is joining with organizations across the nation to recognize Child Abuse Prevention Month in April and is sponsoring a variety of activities to bring light to the issue of child maltreatment. There is a correlation between child abuse and juvenile delinquency, substance use, depression, teen pregnancy, dropping out of school and adult criminality. Preventing child abuse is key to giving every child the chance to reach his or her potential.
The Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS), reports in its most recent published data that in DCS Region 2 (Porter, La Porte, Starke, Newton, Jasper and Pulaski Counties), there were 611 substantiated cases of child maltreatment, consisting of 435 cases of child neglect, 116 cases of sexual abuse and 60 cases of physical abuse. Dunebrook’s Executive Director, Gail Johnson comments, “These numbers only reflect the cases brought to DCS’ attention; many more go unreported.” Johnson reminds the community that “Every adult is mandated by Indiana law to report a suspicion of child abuse or neglect. When you call the abuse hotline at 800/800-5556 or local police, simply state what you know; you don’t have to prove that abuse exists. You cannot be prosecuted for a call made in good faith, and your call may be made anonymously.” “Your call,” Johnson adds, “may save a child’s life, or be the first step someone has taken to get help to the family.”
Dunebrook invites the community to join in these April activities:
April 2 and April 14 – Texas Corral Give Back, Portage
Stop by any time on April 2 and April 14 and tell them that you are supporting Dunebrook. No coupon is necessary. 15% of all food sales will be donated to Dunebrook. Texas Corral is located at 5880 U.S. Hwy 6, Portage.
April 5 – Walk to Prevent Child Abuse, Michigan City
Meet at 10:00 am at Ames Field on Franklin St. for the round trip walk to the Michigan City Public Library. Special Guests, Michelle Goebel, La Porte County Director of the Indiana Department of Child Services and Rock, from Bikers Against Child Abuse, will welcome walkers. Parental supervision required for children. Rain or shine.
April 7 – Signing of Mayoral Proclamation
Michigan City Mayor Ron Meer and La Porte Mayor Blair Milo will sign a proclamation at Dunebrook declaring April as Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month.
April 9 – 15 – Al’s Supermarkets “Donate a Dollar; Keep A Child Safe”
Stop in at Al’s locations in Michigan City, La Porte and South Haven. Donate $1.00, $5.00 or more, and receive a boy or girl cut-out to write your name and show support of child abuse prevention. Cut-outs will be displayed in Al’s stores throughout April.
April 12 – “Fun in Michiana” and Open House at Dunebrook
Join with Dunebrook and community leaders for WE-FM 95.9 fm’s Saturday morning program, beginning at 9:00 am. Enjoy refreshments and tour Dunebrook.
April 22 and April 29 – Stewards of Children Training
Dunebrook’s Family Advocate, Esther Stiles, will present Stewards of Children, a dynamic training that educates adults in ways to keep children safe from sexual predators. This training will take place on April 22 at Dunebrook’s Valparaiso office at 502 Wall St., Ste. 105 from 1:00 pm – 3:00 and from 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm and on April 29 in the Michigan City office at 7451 W. Johnson Road, from 10 am – 12 pm. All sessions are being presented without cost to attendees by generous support from the Unity Foundation of La Porte County and an anonymous donor. Contact Esther at 219/874-0007 to reserve your spot.
April 26 – Walk to Prevent Child Abuse, Valparaiso
(sponsored by Porter County Child Abuse Prevention Council)
Meet at 10:00 am at the Porter County Courthouse on Lincolnway. The round-trip walk continues downtown to the old fairgrounds.
April 29 – “Holly’s Give Back Night”
Present the Give Back coupon and a percentage of food sales will be donated to Dunebrook. Coupon is good throughout the day and is available at Dunebrook, www.dunebrook.org (click on Holly’s Give Back) and at Dunebrook’s Facebook site; click on Events.
May 28 – Buffalo Wild Wings, La Porte
A percentage of all food and non-alcoholic dine-in and carry-out sales between 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm will be donated to Dunebrook. No coupon is necessary.
Johnson adds, “We are so grateful for our community partners who are helping to raise awareness this month: Al’s Supermarkets, Tonn & Blank, De Lau Landscape Maintenance, Current Electric, WE FM Radio 95.9fm, the Michigan City Exchange Club, Texas Corral, Holly’s, Buffalo Wild Wings-La Porte, Mayor Ron Meer and Mayor Blair Milo, Porter County Child Abuse Prevention Council, CASA and so many others. Preventing child abuse is a community-wide effort and we are so fortunate to have organizations and individuals who care so deeply for the well-being of our children.” Proceeds from the restaurant give backs will support Dunebrook’s parenting programs, all of which are provided without cost to families.
In 2013, Dunebrook performed 267 forensic interviews, presented Body safety to 6,491 elementary school children and teachers, and served 300 families each month in home visitation and parenting classes. By supporting, encouraging and educating parents, Dunebrook helps them to help their children grow up safe, healthy and happy.
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