ANOTHER VOICE: Helping kids grow up healthy and safe

Throughout the year, Child Abuse Intervention Centers in Oregon play a critical role in making our state a place that prioritizes the health and safety of children. There are close to 70,000 reports of abuse and neglect each year in Oregon, and almost half of all victims of abuse are under the age of 6.

Over 6,200 children are served by Child Abuse Intervention Centers, which are designed to minimize trauma for children and provide services in a neutral, child-focused environment and as part of a multidisciplinary team of professionals.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Eradicating child abuse begins by building informed communities who are willing to talk openly about this difficult topic. There are many strategies to help combat the secrecy of child abuse. Here are a few:

n Participate in a local child abuse prevention event or activity.

n Understand the types of abuse and recognize the symptoms of abuse. Visit for more information.

n Share what you learn with others.

n Educate your children in an age appropriate way about child abuse. If you’re not sure how, contact your child’s physician, teacher, or a local Child Abuse Intervention Center for tips.

n Have courage to report abuse when you suspect it. You could save a child’s life. If you suspect a child is being abused in Oregon, please contact your local child welfare office, or call 911.

Many Child Abuse Intervention Centers are participating in National Child Abuse Prevention Month with activities and events that highlight the importance of preventing and responding to child abuse. For a list of activities or to locate a center visit

“This month is a great opportunity to recognize the important work that Child Abuse Intervention Centers are doing to protect and help heal children,” said Shelly Smith, board chair of KIDS Center in Bend and board chair of the Oregon Network of Child Abuse Intervention Centers. “We hope that Oregonians will take time to learn about child abuse prevention strategies by visiting our website, or participating in an event or activity in their local community.”

The Oregon Network of Child Abuse Intervention Centers is a nonprofit organization, and Accredited State Chapter of the National Children’s Alliance, comprised of member centers throughout the state of Oregon. It is our mission to provide a collaborative network of Child Abuse Intervention Centers working together to ensure quality, comprehensive services to provide Oregon’s children with the best possible opportunity to grow up healthy and safe.

The Columbia Gorge Children’s Advocacy Center in Hood River is a member of the Oregon Network of Child Abuse Intervention. During the month of April, in partnership with local law enforcement agencies, we are asking community members to wear blue ribbons to support child abuse prevention in our community and all across the country.

To learn more call 541-436-2960, or visit


Debi Baskins is executive director of Columbia Gorge Children’s Advocacy Center.

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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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