Preventing child abuse

Preventing child abuse

April is child abuse and prevention awareness month.

Many organizations across the United States are striving to put an end to this issue, and so are organizations in Wichita County.

Denise Roberts said child abuse cases in Wichita county are higher than you think.

With a staggering 1,400 reported cases last year alone.

Child abuse hits home for her.

"It is very personal for me," said Roberts.  "I was a child that needed a place like patsy's house when I was young."

Now, she is the executive director of Patsy's House, a safe haven for victims and their families in Wichita and four other surrounding counties that offers counseling, services, and advice on what to do next.
Mykel Ojeda is a member of "Guardians of the Children," another Children's advocate organization that rides motorcycles to raise awareness.
"I love to ride," said Ojeda.  "You get to ride for a cause and take this kid in and we make them a part of us."

By that he means each child is adopted into the group and they are given a black motorcycle vest.

Something they can wear during their trial against their offender, a place you will also find the motorcycle group.
"A kid is an innocent person that they can't stand up for themselves so they need someone to stand up for them," said Terral Henderson.

"It gives them just a confidence boost to be able to face that person and tell their story to get it out there," said Ojeda.

While the end goal is to end child abuse all together, Roberts said right now, we need advocates like "Guardians of the Children."

"Just bring education and awareness," said Roberts.  "Just trying to get the word out there I think is one of the biggest things we can do.  You know hopefully some justice at the end of it as well to be able to send a healthy little person back out into the world."

A list of other events for Child Prevention and Awareness month are listed below.

April 3rd -Proclamation- Judge Gossom will read a proclamation for John Robert Little, Special Investigator, for the Criminal District Attorney, who is recipient of the Patsy Baggett Service Award.  There will also be a proclamation designating April as Child Abuse Prevention Month.  This will take place at 10:00 a.m. at the Commissioner's Court Room at the Courthouse.

April 4th - Proclamation by Mayor Santella at the City Council meeting at 8:30 a.m. at City Hall.  Also on the date a three day conference known as the North Texas Regional Training Conference will begin at Midwestern State University.  This conference is a multi-disciplinary conference and has been consistently held each year for over 30 years.  The conference is in the Clark Student Center. The dates of the conference are April 4, 5 and 6.

Also on April 4th,  the Walk of Knowledge will be held at the Sunwatcher Plaza (behind the Clark Student Center)   at Midwestern State University.  The Child Abuse Prevention Committee will host this event.  Five hundred eighty four (584) pairs of shoes will be lined up around the walk representing the number of confirmed cases of children abused in Wichita County in 2016.  There will be display stations along the walk with information and statistics.  The Rotary Club North will be cooking up hot dogs with chips, cookies and drinks also provided.  Food will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  This event is open to the public..

April 7th - The Patsy Baggett Award luncheon will be held at 12:00 noon at the St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 1417 11th Street.  John Robert Little, Chief Investigator, Criminal District Attorney's Office, is the recipient of this years award and we are expecting approximately fifty of his friends and family to be present for the luncheon.  This luncheon is a project of the Wichita County Child Welfare Board.   April 7th is also Go Blue Day and everyone is urged to wear blue in recognition of Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness.

April 8th - North Texas Veterans Relief Fund Frontier Days - Rainbow House Kids Carnival will be at the Downtown Farmer's Market from 12:00 noon to 8:00 p.m.

April 26th - Traffic 911 presentations at Evangel Temple 3800 Barnett Road, Wichita Falls, Texas.  There will be two session of the Texoma Child Abuse Prevention Sex Trafficking training.  The first session will be from 10 a.m. to noon and this session is primarily for professionals, parents, adults.  The second session will be from 6 pm to 7 pm and is a youth curriculum designed to equip adults and Middle or High School students with knowledge of sex trafficking as well as the inherent dangerous associated with trafficking.   Both sessions are open to the public.

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