Lauren Brown, Community Education Specialist for NEA Children’s Advocacy Center; Derek Collins, CASA Board of Directors Member; Elizabeth Collins, BRTC Communications Specialist and CASA; Amy Harris, CASA 3rd Judicial Coordinator; Roxanne Byram, Gateway CASA Executive Director; Rachel Koons, BRTC Social Science Instructor
POCAHONTAS, AR May 11— Black River Technical College hosted a Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Event on April 28, 2022.
At the event, Karen Liebhaber, Vice President of Institutional Advancement, welcomed guests and read Governor Asa Hutchinson’s proclamation that April 2022 be deemed Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month in the state Arkansas. Liebhaber also read statistics from DHS’s Child Maltreatment Report that shows how serious of a problem child abuse and neglect is in Arkansas.
Amy Harris, CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) Coordinator for Randolph and Lawrence Counties, attended the event to share the history and mission of CASA and how to become a child’s special advocate. Shawnie Wilson, Executive Director of the NEA Children’s Advocacy Center, spoke about the services the non-profit center provides and how those in attendance can support the center. Jared Bassham, BRTC Law Enforcement Training Academy Instructor, represented the law enforcement community by communicating how big of a problem child abuse and neglect are in our area and what to do if you suspect a child is being abused.
At the conclusion of the event, each person in attendance was provided a pinwheel, the national symbol for child abuse prevention, to plant on the BRTC lawn. The CASA and the NEA Children’s Advocacy Center representatives had tables set up to provide additional information for those interested in becoming more involved in advocating for children’s rights, and refreshments were for provided for everyone in attendance.
Rachel Koons, BRTC Social Science Instructor and organizer of the event states, “We would like to thank everyone who came out and supported this very special event! We would also like to thank our guest speakers, those who set up information tables, and everyone who helped make this event possible.” She adds, “It’s very obvious that Arkansas desperately needs more child abuse awareness events like this one, considering the staggering abuse statistics mentioned today. It was an honor it was to be able to come together and plant a pinwheel to honor all the child abuse survivors and the 38 Arkansas children that so tragically lost their lives in 2021, a result of such horrendous acts.”
For more information about BRTC, visit https://blackrivertech.org.