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

Photo: (from left): Paton-Churdan K-12 Principal, Annie Smith and Sara Miller, a social worker with the Greene County Public Health HOPES program

JEFFERSON, Iowa – Greene County Public Health recently presented copies of the children’s book, ABC of Body Safety and Consent by Jayneen Sanders to the Greene County and Paton-Churdan fourth-grade classes. This gift is made possible by dollars received from the Communities 4 Children Decategorization and Community Partnerships for Protecting Children Neighborhood/Community Network (DCAT/CPPC) mini-grant program.

“These age-appropriate books help children better understand about unhealthy touches and the appropriate boundaries between caretakers and children,” explained Public Health Director, Becky Wolf. “The concepts and safety steps are presented in a format that is easy for children to understand and remember and is supported by school counselors who create curriculum and discussions to accompany it. This helps us all work toward the goals of assisting children, driving at-home conversations that strengthen the parent-child relationship and helping to prevent this form of child abuse.”

The overall message of these combined efforts is to let children know they are in charge of their bodies and the difference between secrets and surprises. They will be able to identify safe people they can talk to and build confidence in their safety skills.

In addition to these fourth-grade classes, the books are being delivered to area libraries, daycare providers, regional medical clinics, Law Enforcement Centers and through the Public Health HOPES (Healthy Opportunities for Parents to Experience Success) in-home visitation and immunization programs.

“Through this approach, Greene County Public Health and DCAT/CPPC work in collaboration with families about what is shared in the home,” said Wolf. “The grants encourage open communication and help identify the safe people in the child’s life, what deserves a NO! response and what is considered safe.”

To report child or dependent adult abuse directly, call the State of Iowa Department of Health and Human Services at 800-362-2178. If you suspect a child under 18 is being abused or neglected, please call the Child Abuse Hotline at 800-362-2178 (24/7). Be ready to provide identifying information and the whereabouts of the child. Reports may be made anonymously unless you are a mandatory reporter. If you believe a child is in imminent danger, dial 911 immediately.