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Columbia County had 198 founded child abuse cases, according to the state of Oregon, Child Abuse 2019 Data Book.

Community Action Team Inc., Northwest Oregon Healthy Families is Columbia County's largest child abuse prevention program offering home visiting services for prenatal or new birth families.

National Child Abuse Prevention Month

Pinwheels and ribbons for prevention have been placed at the front entrance of St.Helens Community Action Team Building.

This year the agency has put out ribbons and pinwheels to symbolize local child abuse data (2019 Child Welfare Data Book (oregon.gov) pg. 28). Each ribbon placed on the railing outside the Community Action Team Building is a representation of a founded child abuse case in Columbia County.

Healthy Families of Columbia County serves approximately 40 families each calendar year. Healthy Families empowers parents to be their child’s best teacher from the very start, supporting family’s healthy growth and development, according to a release from the agency.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. This month and throughout the year, Community Action Team Inc., Healthy Families encourages all individuals and organizations to play a role in making Columbia County a better place for children and families.

The agency states that by ensuring that parents have the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to care for their children, child abuse and neglect can be prevented by creating strong and thriving children, youth, and families in the communities.

Research shows that protective factors are present in healthy families, the agency states in a release, adding that protective factors are conditions or attributes of individuals, families, communities, or the larger society that mitigate risk and promote healthy development and wellbeing.

Healthy Families of Columbia County states that promoting the following protective factors is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of child abuse and neglect:

  • Nurturing and attachment
  • Knowledge of parenting and of child and youth development
  • Parental resilience
  • Social connections
  • Concrete supports for parents
  • Social and emotional competence of children

"April is a time to celebrate the important role that communities play in protecting children and strengthening families," Community Action Team Director Dan Brown said. "Everyone's participation is critical. Focusing on ways to connect with families is the best thing our community can do to strengthen families and prevent child abuse and neglect."

For more information about child abuse prevention programs, contact Community Action Team Inc., Healthy Families at 503-366-6556.

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