Valuing families: Community can get on board new grant aimed at reducing abuse

Consider the new example of the Hood River County community’s coordinated efforts to respond to the needs of at-risk families.

As explained on page A5, the Hood River County Commission on Children and Families recently received a child abuse and neglect prevention grant from the Children’s Trust Fund of Oregon; Hood River and Springfield are the only two communities to receive the grants.

What are needed now are local people to serve on the grant board. The HRCCCF is turning to other agencies and providers for this, but there is also room in this vehicle for other drivers — people from the community.

The “Keeping Families Together” grant appears to be an opportunity to further coalesce resources to deal with an issue that affects every community.

Teachers and others who work with children can offer chilling examples of youngsters they come into contact with who are suffering from neglect or abuse. It is not something to turn away from, but to confront proactively, as the Keeping Families Together” grant proposes to do.

In this space we recently extolled the value of serving as a mentor; not everyone has the time, talents or inclination to spend time with a young person. Serving on a grant board such as this one could be the perfect opportunity to serve.

(The grant can also defray some costs for potential board members, such as child care or transportation.)

Between HRCCC, Next Door Inc. and other local agencies, numerous programs of education and outreach are available in the community to support families in at-risk.

Building on existing programs and partnerships is one reason Hood River was chosen for the grant.

As coordinator Terri Vann noted, “We were chosen because we have a history of agencies working together and the Children’s Trust Fund of Oregon wanted to use a community that has agencies on board.”

One important facet of the grant is that it will tackle the problem of under-reporting (read: non-reporting). Abuse and neglect are among the most private and hyper-sensitive of matters facing a family. The dynamics of abuse and neglect are painful and personal, but ultimately this harmful behavior affects the community as a whole.

It puts a strain on schools and social services, increases medical and mental health costs and contributes to lost productivity, among plenty of other factors. And we should not fail to mention the simple matter of physical and psychological harm it causes to the abused and the abuser.

“Bottom line: Any child who is abused is one too many; so we are anxious to have the opportunity to continue to grow our community programs,” Vann said.

Working as a community to address, comprehensively, the root causes of abuse and neglect is the heart and soul of the pending grant. Now there is the potential for active local involvement in carrying it out on behalf of the community.

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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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