Open Arms supports Child Abuse Prevention Month - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Open Arms supports Child Abuse Prevention Month

By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  More than 400 abused or neglected children were served by Open Arms Incorporated in the last year.  April is child abuse prevention month and the agency is working to bring awareness to an issue that is often tough to talk about.

People from Open Arms who work with children who've been abused, gathered in front of the Albany Mall, held hands and prayed that the abuse will come to an end.

"I want everybody to know that child abuse, neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse is in Dougherty County and our surrounding counties, and today we pray for hope for our children, hope for our families and hope for our community," said Fonda Strong.

A community that in the past year had more than 400 children come through Open Arms for help.  That's what these pinwheels represent.

"It is happening next door neighbors," said Portia Douglas.  "It is happening everywhere.  You just need to be aware.  Be aware of the signs.  Kids that shy away, don't really talk, just be aware and open your eyes and if you do see something happening, please report it."

Sadly, for many families, the abuse isn't physically or intentional, simply the result of a bad economy.

"I think a lot of it is dealing with stress of the economy.  We are seeing a higher number of abuse due to neglect.  They cannot provide, just cannot provide," said  Strong.

Hours have been cut back at work, some parents have been laid off and families are now homeless, without shelter, without adequate clothing or the means to put food on the table.

"There is no table, and when it comes to children age zero to 21, Open Arms can step in and assist with food, shelter, clothing, medical and educational needs," said  Strong.

 "It's hard to kind of swallow that pill that it's happening right here in my church, or it's happening right here in my city," said Rosalynn Fliggins.

A city that with prayer, they hope abuse  will be less frequent in the year ahead.

Kohl's employees are volunteering their time to help beautify Open Arms as part of an Earth Day project.

  • Click HERE for more on Child Abuse Prevention Month


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