(Editor’s Note: Throughout April, Siuslaw News will be featuring Guest Viewpoints, editorials and a special series highlighting Child Abuse Prevention Month.)
Child abuse and neglect can be prevented. Every child deserves to be safe and nurtured, and there is a role for every single person, neighborhood, group and organization to play in preventing child abuse and neglect.
These are some of the core beliefs of “90by30,” a Lane County-wide program, administered by the Center for the Prevention of Abuse and Neglect (CPAN) at the University of Oregon.
90by30 represents the goal of reducing child abuse and neglect in Lane County by 90 percent by the year 2030.
There are certain strategies that research has shown to be effective in preventing child abuse and neglect; some of them are soon to be implemented in West Lane communities.
Welcome Baby Box is a program that has been implemented worldwide and shown to reduce infant mortality rates. The family of every baby born in West Lane will be given a baby box which can serve as a crib. It will be filled with necessary items, such as baby clothes, bottles, diapers, blanket, toys and sheets.
Also included will be a Resource Guide which lists local support organizations to assist parents.
In addition, a CD, “Period of Purple Crying,” will educate parents about the dangers of the “shaken baby syndrome.”
The Welcome Baby Box will be a valuable community resource by offering support to parents when they need it most.
Roots of Empathy is a school-based program that has been delivered internationally. It will be implemented in West Lane in the Fall. It is an evidence-based program that is designed to engender and promote empathy in young children.
An infant and caregiver, along with a Roots of Empathy facilitator, visit first grade classes over the school year. The curriculum allows the children to interact with the baby in such a way that they learn how to be more empathetic to each other and to become more caring individuals.
Healthy Families is a program currently being implemented in West Lane. It is a home-based program in which trained volunteers visit homes of parents with children aged prenatal to six years old. The program promotes parenting skills, healthy child development, and provides resources to reduce parental stress.
Additional programs will be implemented during the next few years. Meanwhile, to recognize April as Child Abuse Prevention Month, all community members are invited to attend the upcoming a 90by30 open house on Sunday, April 29.
There will be informational material, fun activities, face-painting, a video and refreshments. It will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Siuslaw Public Library.
All are welcome to attend and learn more about how we, as individuals within our community, can play a role in preventing child abuse and neglect.