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Readiness Enabler for Operational Forces  •
Base ceremony marks Child Abuse Awareness Month

By Art Powell | | April 8, 2010

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The start of Child Abuse Awareness Month was marked April 1 with a ceremony outside Marine and Family Services located in Building 7200 at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany.

Prior to the 8 a.m. ceremony, Marines stationed here ran in formation to the venue and stood for morning colors before the crowd gathered there.

“It would be great if we didn’t need to hold this ceremony every year,” said Donna Mahnken, program manager, Family Advocacy Program, Marine and Family Services, Marine Corps Community Services, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany. “Child abuse has so many rippling effects and I don’t think people realize it until you work with victims and see the impact it has on their life forever, really.

“Child abuse is responsible for so many problems in our society.”

The National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System reported an estimated 1,760 child fatalities in 2007. This translates to a rate of 2.35 children per 100,000 children in the general population. NCANDS defines “child fatality” as the death of a child caused by an injury resulting from abuse or neglect, or where abuse or neglect was a contributing factor.

For parents feeling the stress in raising children, MFS has programs available to assist them.

“We have a family advocacy program to help with domestic issues, but we also have other programs to assist Marines with finances, stress, new parenting, substance abuse counseling and more,” said Brenda Ray, health coordinator, MFS. “These issues have an impact on our society and our base because when we have issues with our families, then the Marines can’t be mission ready.”

If someone notices a child who could be a child abuse victim, advocates stress that it is important to speak up.

“Every April we renew our determination to speak up for the littlest voices that can’t protect themselves and we ask people to get involved when they suspect a child is at risk,” said Jamie Hurst, victim assistance, MFS. “This year, we are asking the MCLB community to take time to educate themselves about the various programs available at Marine and Family Services that will help promote healthy families and safe children. It saddens me to think about a child who goes to bed each night believing that love hurts and that they are to blame for their bruises.”

“Each of us has the ability to make a difference in the life of a child,” she added.

According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Kids Count, Dougherty County, Ga., had 380 cases of substantiated child abuse in 2008.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Children’s Bureau, Office on Child Abuse and Neglect, its Child Welfare Information Gateway, and the FRIENDS National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention created a resource guide targeted specifically for service providers who work with parents, other caregivers and their children with the common goal of strengthening families.

The guide contains resources to promote community awareness that can help families protect children from the risk of child abuse and neglect, including tip sheets for parents in English and Spanish.

For more information, visit the Web site http://www.childwelfare.gov/preventing/res_guide_2010/ or call (229) 639-5252.


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