|Polk County Enterprise - Local News
Copyright 2013 - Polk County Publishing Company
Be A Superhero
BY VALERIE REDDELL
LIVINGSTON — The 144 stars wearing super-hero capes that have appeared on the corner of the Polk County Courthouse lawn represent the number of children in our community who were confirmed victims of abuse or neglect in 2012. Thankfully, that number has decreased by 20 from the 164 confirmed cases in 2011, CPS Supervisor Lou Liles said. This year Polk Countians can take comfort that there are no black stars among that the group this year. Black stars represent a child death as a result of child abuse or neglect. There were none in 2012. In 2011 one child died as a result of abuse or neglect. Three years ago, there were three, Liles said. CPS is called for cases of suspected child maltreatment. Local statistics show that there have been several traumatic juvenile deaths in the preceding 12 months but, with the exception of one, those have been ruled accidents. Murder charges are pending in that one case. The stars are placed on the courthouse lawn each April as part of Polk County's local observance of Child Abuse Prevention Month. This month and throughout the year, Child Protective Services encourages all individuals and organizations to play a role in making Polk County a better place for children and families. By ensuring that parents have the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to care for their children, we can help promote children's social and emotional well-being and prevent child maltreatment within families and communities. Research shows that when parents possess six protective factors, the risk for neglect and abuse diminish and optimal outcomes for children, youth, and families are promoted. The six protective factors are: • Nurturing and attachment • Knowledge of parenting and of child and youth development • Parental resilience • Social connections • Concrete supports for parents • Social and emotional developmental well-being "April is a time to celebrate the important role that communities play in protecting children," said Lou Liles, with the Department of Family and Protective Services, "Everyone's participation is critical. Focusing on ways to build and promote the protective factors, in every interaction with children and families, is the best thing our community can do to prevent child maltreatment and promote optimal child development." If you suspect abuse of a child, contact the city or tribal police department that serves your community, the Polk County Sheriff's Office at 936-327-6810 or call 1-800-252-5400.