Health and Family Services Cabinet
Reception Spotlights Child Abuse Prevention Efforts

Press Release Date:  Thursday, April 24, 2008  
Contact Information:  Anya Armes Weber, (502) 564-6180, ext. 4014; or Vikki Franklin, (502) 564-7042  


FRANKFORT, Ky. (April  24, 2008) –  The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) and Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky (PCAK) sponsored a reception tonight to spotlight the prevention of child abuse and neglect.

Patricia R. Wilson, commissioner of the CHFS Department for Community Based Services, applauded her agency’s partnership with PCAK.

“In every community, Department for Community Based Services staff works closely with community partners to help families provide a stable, nurturing home life for their children,” she said. “Our collaboration with PCAK has resulted in parent training and prevention education efforts that have enabled vulnerable families to become safer and stronger.”

Gov. Steve Beshear has proclaimed April Child Abuse Prevention Month in Kentucky.

PCAK’s Executive Director, Jill Seyfred, said her agency provides linkage to the support many parents need, but don’t know how to request.

“Research shows that parents and caregivers who have strong coping skills and standby support are more likely to provide safe homes for their children,” she said. “PCAK’s toll-free hot line — 1-800-CHILDREN – links parents and caregivers to a network of services that offer the right assistance.”

Last year, the cabinet received more than 68,164 reports of children being abused or neglected by a caregiver. About 32,627 were accepted for investigation, and 9,946 of those were substantiated.

Wilson said DCBS is focusing more on prevention efforts through programs like parent mentoring and other in-home services for low-risk families.

Seyfred said the effects of child abuse may last for years.

“Aside from the immediate damage abuse and neglect cause, many children who suffer abuse are impacted later in life,” she said. “We can prevent long-lasting mental and physical health issues, as well as generational abuse and larger societal problems, through our vigorous prevention efforts.”

First Lady Jane Beshear attended the reception, which featured the artwork of many foster children in the “Art from the Heart Gallery,” a touring exhibit to raise awareness of the state’s need for foster parents.

Several children were also honored as winners of PCAK’s annual art contest. Students based their artwork on the theme, “It’s Your Turn to Make a Difference – Everyone Has a Role to Play in Child Abuse Prevention.”

The grand prize winner was Ethan Carmon of Raceland. Second place winner was Timothy McComas of Russell, and third place winner was Casey Christian of Worthington.

Visit PCAK online at www.pcaky.org. Learn more about the cabinet’s efforts to prevent child abuse online at http://chfs.ky.gov/dcbs/dpp/childsafety.htm.

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