Child Abuse prevention month: Abuse teams on call

April 13, 2011

Children of the mid-Columbia who might be experiencing abuse have someone working diligently on their behalf.

The Columbia Gorge Children's Advocacy Center is here to help.

"Incidents of child abuse are on the rise. In 2009, over 28,000 reports of child abuse were investigated in Oregon," said Debi Baskins, executive director of the CGCAC.

Working in conjunction with the Hood River County Multi-Disciplinary Team - a state-mandated child abuse response team - CGCAC provides help investigating cases as well as locating treatment and advising on outcomes.

In addition, the CGCAC works with local medical professionals and agencies to ensure that the appropriate referrals are made for additional services to victims and their families.

What is child abuse and neglect?

Child abuse and neglect often take place in the home and involve a person the child knows well - a parent, relative, baby sitter or friend of the family.

There are different types of child maltreatment. And, although any of the forms may be found separately, they often occur together.


Failure to provide for a child's basic needs: shelter, food, clothing, supervision and medical care.

Physical abuse

Physical injury as a result of hitting, kicking, shaking, burning or otherwise harming a child.

Sexual abuse

Any situation where a child is used for sexual gratification. This may include indecent exposure, inappropriate touching, sexual contact or commercial exploitation through prostitution or the production of pornographic materials.

Protecting children from abuse begins with understanding what a sign of abuse looks like in a child.

The following list of simple red flags may indicate a child is being abused:

A change in behavior. Suddenly, for no reason, the child becomes withdrawn or aggressive or starts getting in trouble in school

Unexplained anger or rebellion, drop in school grades, truancy or runaway behavior

Nightmares, night tremors

Unexplained bruises, burns or welts

A child who is fearful of going somewhere with a particular adult

Cruelty to animals or fire setting

A child who begins wetting or soiling himself long after he has been potty trained

Children who are acting out sexually and demonstrating knowledge about things that are not appropriate for their age. This is really true for younger children.

Use of alcohol or drugs

"If you suspect a child is being abused call DHS or law enforcement right away," said Baskins.

Oregon state law mandates that workers in certain professions must make reports if they have reasonable cause to suspect abuse or neglect.

Mandated reporters include: medical personnel, school and child-care personnel, public employees and law enforcement personnel, members of the clergy, attorneys, firefighters, CASA volunteers, counselors and therapists.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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