Greene County Public Health Uses Grant Dollars for Child Abuse Reduction and Prevention Education

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Annie Smith, Paton-Churdan Principal (left) and Sara Mi

JEFFERSON, Iowa – Greene County Public Health was recently awarded a Community Partnership for Protecting Children/Decategorization Project (CPPC/DCAP) grant to build awareness of and educate in an effort to reduce and prevent instances of child abuse in our county.

“The funds received through Communities 4 Children Decategorization and Community Partnerships for Protecting Children Neighborhood and Community Networks mini grants has helped us come together with those members of our communities who have significant contact with and influence over school-age children,” explained Public Health Director, Becky Wolf. “We were able to supply age-appropriate, critically acclaimed books as a part of the ‘On the Same Page’ program.”

The book, My Body Belongs to Me from My Head to My Toes, written by Jill Starishevsky, was presented to kindergarten through fourth grade students in the Greene County Community School District and to kindergarten through third grade students at Paton-Churdan. The schools’ counseling staff partnered with this effort through their curriculum and the facilitation of comfortable conversations.

The other book designed for this age group was distributed to area libraries, learning centers, in-home daycares, medical organizations and law enforcement centers in two languages. No Means No! (!No Significa No!), and the Starishevsky book both bring awareness about unhealthy touching as well as the appropriate boundaries for caretakers and what to do if this should happen.

“The message being sent is that children should know there are places they should not be touched,” Wolf said. “The books and the intended school curriculum utilize language that is easier for children to understand and will help identify safe people for discussion of suspected abuse. Greene County Public Health and the CPPC/DCAP want to assure our local families that these efforts are to be used in collaboration with what they share with their children at home. This grant is meant to encourage open communication while identifying exactly what deserves a no and what is considered safe.”