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Child Abuse Prevention Month is every month in St. Louis County

Apr 16

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4/16/2014 8:07 AM  RssIcon

The following article was written by Ann Busche, Director, St. Louis County Public Health and Human Services. It was originally published in the Duluth Budgeteer newspaper on April 19, 2014.

I have the most adorable granddaughter! She has the biggest blue eyes and precious dimples when she smiles. Rcently, I had the responsibility to watch her while her parents ran a quick errand, and it’s been a while since I was in charge of a little one. It’s an exhausting job! And I cannot think of a more important and rewarding one. April is Child Abuse Prevention month; a good time to remind parents, grandparents and any adult who interacts with a child about the great responsibility we have to nurture and protect the children in our lives and to never inflict any harm.

It’s hard to imagine anyone harming a child. Unfortunately, it does happen, each and every day, right here in the Northland. The result is not only the obvious, great human costs, but significant financial costs for the entire community. When children are hurt they often have emotional and behavioral problems that impact our neighbors, our schools and the community as a whole. When people think of child protection or social services, they most often think of child maltreatment and the county’s response to abuse and neglect. Our division of Children and Family Services certainly responds to these reports of maltreatment, but we provide many services that focus on the prevention of child abuse. I cannot think of a better time to highlight these services than now during Child Abuse Prevention month. Below are services designed to support families dealing with difficult situations; they work to address the risk factors that can lead to maltreatment and they help to keep families together. 

Family Support Services provide family centered, solution focused approaches in addressing issues such as, parent-child conflict, parenting challenges, and school struggles. This program can provide support in assisting with personal struggles that impact parenting like substance abuse, mental health, and poverty-related risk factors. Family Support Services case managers can provide support and strategies, assist in crisis management, and make referrals to other services of support.

Children’s Mental Health works with parents of children with mental health needs. Case managers assist in developing a case plan that is tailored to meet the individual needs of the child, through advocacy, and coordinating educational and mental health services. Kids with emotional and behavioral concerns often encounter stigma and misunderstanding about their issues, which can lead to isolation and escalating behaviors. Case managers intervene to interrupt maladaptive behaviors and support the family in encouraging more effective coping techniques.

The Minor Parent Program provides services to pregnant or parenting minors in making appropriate plans for themselves and their child. Primary issues of concern addressed by the service include the parent’s continued school attendance, safe and supportive living arrangements for the parent and the child, the parent’s decision making regarding parenting or placement for adoption, child care, and parenting skill development. The goal of the program is to assist young parents, who face extra parenting challenges, in providing a healthy start in life for their child.

Intensive Family Based Services provides in-home parenting education, problem solving, counseling, skill building and support for families to improve their communication and strengthen their relationships. This service is strength based, intensive and time limited. The Family Based social worker partners with families to address risk factors that can lead to out of home placement, and also work with families to reunify children with their families after an out of home placement.

All of these programs are free and available for St. Louis County residents; requests for services are made by calling our Initial Intervention Unit (IIU) at (218) 726-2012. Talk to the screener about your concerns and interest in services for your children or family.  

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Re: Child Abuse Prevention Month is every month in St. Louis County

It breaks my heart to think of children being harmed. Thank-you for the services you provide for children and families. If you ever have any public service announcements regarding foster care and programs for helping children please email me the information and I'll put it on our radio stations here in Hibbing and on our websites. Thank-you again!

By Jessica on   4/22/2014 12:47 PM

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Dana Kazel
Public Information
Dana Kazel 
Room 213
100 N 5th Ave W
Duluth, MN 55802
(218) 725-5049
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