National Child Abuse Prevention Month recognizes the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse and neglect and promotes the social and emotional well-being of children and families. During the month of April and throughout the year, communities are encouraged to increase awareness and provide education and support to families through resources and strategies to prevent child abuse and neglect.
On Friday, April 5, 2019, local professionals gathered at Highland Crest Community College Campus to hear from three speakers regarding child abuse and child abuse prevention. Attendees included healthcare professionals, social workers, lawyers, volunteers in the juvenile court system, and more. The event was presented by NorthCrest Medical Center and was catered by 24Catering.
Speakers at the event included Lt. Charlie Clark of the Robertson County Sheriff’s Department; Clark Flatt, M. Div, Founder and President of The Jason Foundation; and Jennifer Dindo, RN, CPEN at Monroe Carrel Jr.’s Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.
The first presentation was by Lt. Charlie Clark, who discussed internet safety, bullying inside and outside of schools, and the affect each have on children. As adults, it’s important to understand the dangers online including cyberbullying, sexual predators, and misuse of social media, establishing expectations for appropriate online behavior, and how to monitor usage and maintain open lines of communication. Clark frequently recommends NetSmartz.org as a resource to parents, caregivers, and community members who interact often with youth.
Founder of the Jason Foundation, Clark Flatt, M.Div, discussed a silent epidemic: youth suicide. Between 2006 and 2016, youth suicide rates increased over 70% in the United States and on average in Tennessee, every 2.6 days a young person (between the ages of 10 and 24) is lost to suicide. Combating this crisis comes through intervention and prevention. Flatt urges everyone to be aware of observable warning behaviors (feeling like a burden, isolation, feelings of being trapped/hopelessness, and increased substance abuse) and triggers such as relationship problems, experienced a crisis in the past two weeks or a pending crisis, and problematic substance abuse. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255.
Jennifer Dindo, RN, CPEN, a pediatric emergency nurse from Monroe Carrel Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, taught the audience about the types of abuse and how to identify physical abuse. Dindo reminds us that child abuse is non-discriminant; it is present across all socioeconomic statuses, cultures, ethnicities, and family groups.
NorthCrest would like to thank the presenters for bringing new and/or updated information to leaders and representatives in Robertson County. We are all responsible for protecting the children of our community, and should educate ourselves if we are in regular contact with youth about the dangers they may face. To be included in future updates regarding the annual Child Abuse Awareness Seminar, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.