Editorial: Aware of abuse

April 7, 2012

Child abuse is a serious nationwide problem, no less so in Hood River County. In 2010, 592 reports of child abuse and neglect were reported to county authorities; 56 percent were assessed, and 17 percent determined to be founded, according to the non-profit Children First.

If that sounds like a small "founded" proportion, consider that statewide, just nine percent were founded, according to Children First.

In Oregon, 31 percent of founded cases were related to domestic violence and 42 percent to substance abuse. This ratio was reversed in Hood River County, where it was 51 percent related to domestic violence and 37 percent to substance abuse.

The numbers may be difficult to track or explain, but in Hood River County it is not difficult to find resources to help families. In three weeks, Hood River Rotary holds a work party at the Helping Hands Against Violence shelter, giving a boost to that critical facility, which provides 24-hour hotline access, counseling, and other services.

The Next Door Inc. provides "Parenting Today" classes on a regular basis; call toll-free at 1-855-308-2236 to get the latest schedule.

NDI also offers a comprehensive program called Families First, with Healthy Start as its core program. This provides a "Welcome Baby Visit" to all first-time parents and weekly home visits to new families experiencing extra stress.

In addition, NDI operates the Family Support and Connections program for low-income families in a five-county area.

"Our vision is a community of healthy, thriving children raised in strong, nurturing families," said NDI director Janet Hamada.

For more, turn to page A10 in today's Mind, Body, Spirit section. In observance of April as Child Abuse Awareness Month, Karen Enns of NDI provides a practical and insightful set of suggestions on how individuals, and the community as a whole, can work to improve the lives of parents and children and respond to a crisis or act constructively to help prevent one.

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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 www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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