Michael DeLeon to speak on Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention

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It’s a tragic fact that in 2015, there were 22,015 children in Indiana abused or neglected; don’t walk away, we need your help to get everyone on the right track.

April is Child Abuse Prevention month. It’s time to focus on ways to not only protect children but to also to prevent abuse from ever occurring. This is your opportunity to make a difference in young lives. Neglect is the most frequent form of child abuse. Yes, children die simply because they’re put in situations where they are not supervised. We also need to remember the correlation between drug use and child abuse & neglect in our communities. We can’t stop one without addressing the other.

We all know law enforcement cannot prevent all crime. We cannot expect Child Protective Services to stop all child abuse and neglect. In fact, in the majority of the most tragic cases of child abuse-those in which a child died-Child Protective Services had no opportunity to impact the safety of the child at risk. Maybe it was a situation that people outside the family couldn’t see. Possibly the child’s parent didn’t realize that their own action, lack thereof, put their child’s life at risk. The more aware we are about the drug issues in our communities the better able we are to address and combat it. We all have to recognize what is going wrong in our communities and pull together to get things on the right track.

Parents are not alone. Information and support is available to make communities strong and safe. The web site www.childwelfare.gov contains a wealth of information on how to prevent abuse, where to go get help with parenting skills, and what to do if you suspect a child is in danger. Additionally, volunteers from Dearborn and Ohio County Prevent Child Abuse Council are in the community sharing information about Child Abuse Prevention. T

They are always looking for volunteers to help on their council. Contact your local Child Protective Services office 812-738-8166 or SIEOC Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) 1-800-755-8558 to get more information. Contact Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline: 1 800 800-5556 to report suspected child abuse or neglect. It’s up to all of us to prevent child abuse and get our community on the right track.

On April 29th, SIEOC Child Care Resource & Referral is holding its 21st Annual Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect Conference, “On the Right Track” in Lawrenceburg. At the time of the submission, Citizens for a Drug Free Ohio County and One Community One Family have contributed funds to allow for the conference to be free to anyone wanting to attend. There is a small charge of $8.00 to cover breakfast, lunch and an event sweatshirt. If it were not for the wonderful community organizations and businesses the conference would not be able to take place in the large scale that it has in the last 21 years.

Michael R. DeLeon has been called many things: drug addict and gang member on the one hand, motivational speaker and filmmaker on the other. In his quest to reach young people about serious life issues, particularly drugs, DeLeon has picked up a couple of other labels: extremist and alarmist for calling the drug problem the worst public health crisis the country has ever seen. Michael will be this year’s keynote speaker and will explain to the audience the real things he is seeing in every community, which means yours. He will go into detail why the legalization of marijuana is an issue. While U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch has publicly stated pot is not a gateway drug – paving the way to abuse of more dangerous drugs – DeLeon said that it is and that it desensitizes people to the use of mind-altering substances.

While DeLeon says he does not have the answer to end drug abuse, he recommends 30 ways to attack the problem, including a federal law outlawing prescription drug ads; drug testing in schools; scaling back medical privacy laws as they relate to minors to give parents more of a role in determining treatment of their children; better educating physicians on addiction; federal monitoring of prescriptions; and elimination of handwritten prescriptions.

In any event, the problem will get worse, DeLeon said.

“It’s no longer an epidemic,” he said. “Now, it’s a pandemic. A pandemic means it’s everywhere.”

Michael’s core message is that as a community we need to be aware of what is going on and talk to our children, neighbors and public officials about this true crisis. His passion is to keep families on the right track. If you are interested in attending this free event, please contact SIEOC CCR&R at amatzet@sieoc.org to get a registration form. Don’t walk away from abuse; join us in our fight to prevent it.

SIEOC has been a recipient of funds provided by Citizens for a Drug Free Ohio County, whose purpose is to address community awareness and involvement in reducing substance abuse and dependence. Citizens for a Drug Free Ohio County fund prevention, treatment and law enforcement efforts and advocate for social change. All citizens are invited to attend the monthly meeting held on the second Thursday of each month at 10:00 am at the Education Center of Rising Sun. For more information regarding the Citizens for Drug Free Ohio County contact Deborah Thomason at 812-438-2437 or email cfdfoc@live.com.