Local News

Growing Up In A Safe Way

Throughout the year, the Washington County Health and Human Services Department encourages all individuals and organizations to play a role in making Washington County a safe place for children and families.

Research shows that positive childhood experiences in nurturing environments provide a strong foundation for children’s physical and mental health, learning and social skills. We know children do well when their parents do well. The foundation of this effort is the dedication of local agencies that ensure caregivers have the knowledge, skills and resources they need to protect children from the risk of child abuse and neglect.

“Across our community, there are parents and caregivers who are struggling with balancing the stress of daily life alongside caring for a child. Whether it is working multiple jobs trying to make ends meet or struggling with substance use or mental health needs --balancing these pressures with parenting can at times be very difficult, “says Coral Kline, Children and Families Division Manager with the Human Services Department. “While there is no excuse for abuse or neglect, we must understand what underlying issues can cause it to occur if we, as a community, wish to prevent it and help families safely stay together.”

Washington County is posting resources on the Washington County Facebook page for families to stay connected and ease stressors. Washington County recently played host to the Guardians of the Children--Hog City Chapter for their annual Pinwheel ceremony to observe Family Strengthening Month. Guardians of the Children is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization comprised of motorcycle enthusiasts. Their vision is to improve the quality of life in the community by educating the public and making them aware of the steps to take in order to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to the reality of child abuse.

It's an important role that communities play in protecting children and strengthening families,” Kline said. “Each family is unique, but all parents and caregivers need support sometimes. We can help by ensuring all children have positive experiences and families have the resources when they need them.”

The Washington County Support Line is 262-365-6565 and is answered 24/7/365, and provides free, confidential referrals to community resources. Community members can dial 2-1-1 to access family, health, and social service resources. They can also dial toll-free 1-866-211-3380, search online at impactinc.org or chat with a representative by texting their zip code to 898-211.

To report suspected child abuse or neglect call 262-335-4888. ###