The Harrison County Children Service Board will host a short ceremony in honor of Child Abuse Awareness month at 12 p.m., Friday, April 8 in the 71st District Court courtroom of the Harrison County Courthouse.
The ceremony will be short, and feature State Representative Chris Paddie as the keynote speaker. Also speaking briefly will be Roxanne Stevenson, Executive Director of the Martin House Child Advocacy Center of Gregg and Harrison Counties.
“Representative Paddie was instrumental during the last legislative session in passing tough laws that help protect Texas children from child pornography, he’ll tell us more about those laws and what we might expect from the upcoming session regarding further protections for Texas kids,” said Children Service Board Secretary Ashli Acker Dansby. “The Martin House CAC has just opened a location right here in Marshall, and we are thrilled, so we thought it would be great to have Ms. Stevenson address the public and talk more about what they do for kids in our area, and their partnership with local law enforcement as well as Child Protective Services.”
This annual event is informative, and provides the public with an opportunity to learn more about the affects of child abuse in our community, and state wide. Members of area law enforcement, CASA volunteers and staff, Child Protective Services volunteers and staff, local attorneys and members of the public are encouraged to attend. Those attending are encouraged to wear blue to the event, to honor children who have endured black-and-blue bruises as a result of physical abuse.
The Foster Parent Association will be on hand to provide information and answer questions about becoming a foster parent.
“In the past, at any given time, Harrison County had about 100 children in the care of Child Protective Services, but during the last six months we’ve seen this number increase, and we have around 125 kids in care each month. It’s important for the public to understand what these children have and are experiencing, as well as understanding the work done by Child Protective Services. We are hopeful the community will come out and be a part of this very important short program,” said Dansby.
This year, the board and staff members of Child Protective Services collaborated and developed a coloring contest for grades Kindergarten through 4th grade within the Marshall Independent School District. First, second and third place winners will be chosen from each grade level district wide, and those winning students will receive a Sonic gift card purchased by the Children Service Board.
“We realize that not all classes may be able to participate, as the district is in the process of testing, but we thought this was a fun way to engage the community and get students involved. Next year, we hope to expand the coloring contest to include all the school districts across Harrison County,” Dansby said.
Anyone with questions about the program can call Dansby at 903-578-7365.