At the Orange County Commissioners Court meeting Monday, April 14, commissioners proclaimed April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
As Item 1 on the agenda, Judge Carl Thibodeaux read a proclamation that said National Child Abuse Prevention Month is meant to heighten community awareness of child abuse and to seek assistance from Orange County citizens in taking action against the crime. According to the proclamation as read by the judge, more than 229,000 cases of child abuse and neglect were reported in Texas in the year 2013, with more than 66,000 Texas children “confirmed victims of child abuse and neglect,” and with 340 of those residing in Orange County. The judge called on the community to protect children by making every effort to prevent abuse and neglect and by reporting suspected cases.
After approval of the measure passed unanimously, Pct. 3 Commissioner John Banken addressed the court, expressing gratitude to Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) and CASA personnel present for the proclamation.
“I would just like to say to all of you that are here today for this, thank you. I admire you,” said Banken. “All children are important. All children deserve a chance. I want you to know that I am very proud of y’all, and I admire y’all for this.”
DFPS spokesperson Shari Pulliam accepted the proclamation and asked for the support of Orange County residents in the quest to keep children safe and well.
“In the United States of America, every child should have a chance in life, every chance at happiness, and every chance at success,” Pulliam said. “Yet tragically, hundreds of thousands of young American children shoulder the burden of abuse and neglect. As a community, we must do better. During National Child Abuse Prevention Month, we strengthen our resolve to give every young person the security, the opportunity and the bright future that they so deserve. We all have a role in preventing child abuse and neglect. … Each of us can help carve out safe places for young children to build their confidence and to pursue their dreams. Raising a healthy next generation is both a moral obligation and a national imperative. … This month and throughout the year, let us all come together as families, as communities and as Americans to ensure every child can pursue their dream in having a safe and loving home. … We appreciate the support of the community.”
Pulliam said the 156 crosses in front of the courthouse represented the 156 child deaths resulting from abuse and neglect in Texas in 2013. Pulliam said none of those deaths occurred in Orange County and urged citizens to remain vigilant against child abuse and neglect.
Sharon Brooks can be reached at (409) 832-1400, ext. 241, or by e-mail at sharon [at] theexaminer [dot] com.