Child abuse proclamation adopted

Published 3:37 pm Thursday, March 14, 2019

The Longwood University social work class made an impact on the county Tuesday as the Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors unanimously granted the class’ request from the month prior, adopting a proclamation to designate April 2019 as Child Abuse Prevention Month in the county.

The vote came as part of the board’s regular March meeting.

Wade Bartlett

Prince Edward County Administrator Wade Bartlett said, “At the February board meeting, the social work class from Longwood University and Professor (Ian) Danielsen, asked the board to consider adopting a proclamation to designate April 2019 as Child Abuse Prevention Month in Prince Edward County. The governor also is doing this statewide …”

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Longwood students Haley Hobbs and Lacie Ellithorpe addressed the board in February on behalf of the social work class with regard to child abuse awareness.

Hobbs advocated for the board adopting a proclamation in connection to April, and Ellithorpe spoke about putting on collaborative events with the community in connection with child abuse awareness.

Jim Wilck

“If you can give us a copy of the proclamation, we will certainly read it and vote at our next meeting,” Farmville 701 District Supervisor and Board Chairman Jim Wilck said at the February meeting. “I’m speaking only for myself, you understand, but it certainly seems like something I could support.”

On Tuesday, Bartlett directed supervisors to a section of the board meeting packet, noting “you’ll see a proclamation that was modeled after the state proclamation.”

Following is the draft proclamation included in the board meeting packet that recognizes April 2019 as Child Abuse Prevention Month:

“WHEREAS, regardless of who they are or the circumstances of their birth, every child has the right to safe, secure and supportive environments, free from abuse and neglect; and

“WHEREAS, during Child Abuse Prevention Month, Virginians are reminded of the courage it takes to raise a child and that fundamental human rights mean living free from violence and abuse; and

“WHEREAS, child abuse is considered to be one of our nation’s most serious public health problems, with scientific studies documenting the link between the abuse and neglect of children and a wide range of medical, emotional, psychological and behavioral disorders; and

“WHEREAS, child abuse can disrupt early brain development, and serious chronic stress can impair the development of nervous and immune systems; and

“WHEREAS, keeping children safe from abuse means playing an active role in their lives, having check-ins and teaching them the warning signs of abuse and how to protect themselves; and

“WHEREAS, child abuse prevention creates a more compassionate society, one which places a high value on the welfare of children; and

“WHEREAS, creating communities where families can access an array of support and resources to address the social, emotional and physical health of their children is the best way to combat child abuse; and

“WHEREAS, Virginia remains committed to sustaining safe, nurturing and supportive environments for families raising children; and

“WHEREAS, effective child abuse prevention programs succeed because of partnerships between families, social services agencies, schools, faith communities, civic organizations, law enforcement agencies and the business community; and

“WHEREAS, displaying a pinwheel during the month of April will serve as a positive reminder that together we can prevent child abuse and neglect, and in doing so keep children safe;

“NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Board of Supervisors of the County of Prince Edward, Virginia, does hereby recognize April 2019 as CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION MONTH, and calls this observance to the attention of all our citizens.”

After the unanimous vote, Wilck directed a comment on the proclamation to Professor Danielsen and the Longwood students in attendance at the meeting: “Thank you for bringing it to our attention.”