Wednesday, May 12, 2010

History of National Child Abuse Prevention Month

History of National Child Abuse Prevention Month
Increasing public awareness of the need to ensure the safety and welfare of children led to the passage of the first Federal child protection legislation, the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), in 1974. While CAPTA has been amended many times over the years, most recently by the Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003, the purpose of the original legislation remains intact. Today, the Children's Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the Federal agency charged with supporting States, Tribes, and communities in providing programs and services to protect children and strengthen families.
In the early 1980s, Congress made a further commitment to identifying and implementing solutions to child abuse. Recognizing the alarming rate at which children continued to be abused and neglected and the need for innovative programs to prevent child abuse and assist parents and families affected by maltreatment, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives resolved that the week of June 6-12, 1982, should be designated as the first National Child Abuse Prevention Week. They asked the President to issue a proclamation calling upon Government agencies and the public to observe the week with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.
The following year, April was proclaimed the first National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Since then, child abuse and neglect awareness activities have been promoted across the country during April of each year. The Office on Child Abuse and Neglect (OCAN) within the Children's Bureau coordinates Child Abuse Prevention Month, providing information and releasing updated national statistics about child abuse and neglect each April.
In 1989, the Blue Ribbon Campaign to Prevent Child Abuse had its early beginnings as a Virginia grandmother's tribute to her grandson who died as a result of abuse. She tied a blue ribbon to the antenna of her car as a way to remember him and to alert her community to the tragedy of child abuse. The Blue Ribbon Campaign has since expanded across the country, and many wear blue ribbons each April in memory of those who have died as a result of child abuse. In other communities, special fundraisers are held to support prevention activities and treatment facilities for victims, and candlelight vigils are held as a remembrance. Most recently, the focus has shifted toward a more positive message of celebrating "blue ribbon" individuals, organizations, and communities who have done much to prevent child abuse and neglect.
In Title II of the CAPTA amendments of 1996, the Children's Bureau was charged with identifying a lead agency in each State for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) grants. These grants support the development, operation, and expansion of initiatives to prevent child abuse and neglect, as well as the coordination of resources and activities to strengthen and support families to reduce the likelihood of child maltreatment. CBCAP grantees within each State often take a leadership role in coordinating special events and preparing materials to support Child Abuse Prevention Month. Regardless of their role, CBCAP grantees are required to report annually on their Child Abuse Prevention Month activities.
In 2003, as part of the 20th anniversary of the original Presidential Proclamation designating April as Child Abuse Prevention Month, OCAN recast the National Child Abuse Prevention Initiative as a year-long effort. This initiative was launched at the 14th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect, which was devoted to the theme of prevention. A national press conference there was the setting for the release of the publication Emerging Practices in the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect.
The expansion of the Child Abuse Prevention Initiative was consistent with priorities of the Administration for Children and Families and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. OCAN and Child Welfare Information Gateway (formerly, the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information) partnered with the broader child abuse prevention community to raise awareness of the issue through a variety of tools, resources, activities, and public awareness events. Many of these materials have been made available in print and on the web to related Federal agencies, organizations, and concerned citizens in communities nationwide.
In 2004, there was emerging consensus among national child abuse prevention organizations and related Federal agencies that building public will for child abuse prevention required engaging the public in efforts to strengthen and support families and enhance parenting skills. Building on this national momentum, OCAN shifted the focus of its child abuse prevention resources to incorporate a family strengthening message promoting parenting and community support. Today, the Child Abuse Prevention Initiative is an opportunity for communities across the country to keep children safe, provide the support families need to stay together, and raise children and youth to be happy, secure, and stable adults.

Provided courtesy of CASA, Montgomery County in support of articles

The Blue Ribbon Story

CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County, INC.

The Story of the Blue Ribbon

The Blue Ribbon Child Abuse Prevention Campaign had its early beginnings following the death of a very young child.  In 1989, a Virginia grandmother received the devastating news that her grandson had died of injuries inflicted by his parents.  In an expression of grief and outrage, this grandmother did something that has given us a symbol.  She tied a blue ribbon to the antenna of her van as a way to remember "the bruised and battered body of her grandson" and to alert her community to the tragedy of child abuse.  Her simple idea, to wear or display a blue ribbon for child abuse prevention was picked up by grassroots organizations across the county.  In her own words:

 “NO! It isn’t true! It simply cannot be true! They are telling me that my grandson is dead ... they are wrong! There must be some mistake ... Michael is fine ... but deep in my heart, I knew it was true for I have not seen him in weeks. It’s been so long since I sat by his side in the hospital. Of course I knew something was wrong as I sat there. I saw fear on his face, the bruises on his body, and the healing cigarette burns on his hands. His doctor did not believe my daughter’s story ... "he fell in slippery water in the bathtub" ... I felt sick ... I didn’t understand ... Are my granddaughters all right, was all I thought. Where are they?

I only had one child. She was a beautiful little girl. She was the light of our eyes. We knew she had entered into a stormy marriage, for we brought her home several times in the five years the marriage lasted. We suspected heavy use of drugs ... BUT ... in those five years, three beautiful, healthy children had been born. I loved them dearly, and they loved me. The children were 16 months, 3 years and 4 years old.

After the ordeal at the hospital, my grandson was placed in foster care for three weeks. He cried when they came to take him back to his mother. He told his foster mother, "my momma doesn’t love me," and he begged to stay. I ached for his dilemma. I was not physically able to care for him. The courts seemed to believe that home was the best place for him ... but I knew better and I told ... no, begged them not to return him to his mother. But I was overruled. My instinct as a grandmother did not count.

I never saw Michael again. My 16 month old granddaughter was hospitalized after being beaten severely her leg was broken in four places, and her hand burned from the tip of her little fingers to her wrist. It was only then that the "search was on" for Michael. We learned that he had been killed, wrapped in a sheet, stuffed in a tool box and dumped in to a dismal swamp three months earlier.

My grandchildren had suffered and battled so much throughout their young lives that it sickened me. My life was turned into physical and mental chaos. My efforts to understand became a plea to stop abusing children. I tied a blue ribbon on my van antenna to make people wonder. It caught on locally with restaurants, businesses, the police department and radio and television stations. They all started supporting me in my efforts to make a real awareness campaign. Why the color blue? I never intend to forget the battered, bruised bodies of my grandchildren. Bruises are black, then eventually blue. Therefore, blue serves as a constant reminder to me to fight for our children. Join with me. We must protect our most precious gift of all ... our children. Please wear a blue ribbon. Put one on your car. Give one to your friends. Tell them what it means. You may be saving a child’s life! If you suspect anything is happening to your children ... your grandchildren ... the child next door ... PLEASE ACT!”

Bonnie Finney, Norfolk, VA.

Monday, May 3, 2010

May 8 Election Polls

Map and directions
Polling Location
Physical Address
City and Zip
Location in Building

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Wilkerson Intermediate School
Sawmill Road
The Woodlands 77380

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South County Community Building
2235 Lake Robbins Drive
The Woodlands 77380
Room 102

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Lamar Elementary School
1300 Many Pines Road
The Woodlands 77380
Teachers' Lounge

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Copperwood Apartment Building
4407 South Panther Creek Drive
The Woodlands 77381
Community Room

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Sally K Ride Elementary School
4920 West Panther Creek Drive
The Woodlands 77381
Front Foyer

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David Elementary School
5301 Shadowbend Place
The Woodlands 77381
Front & Side Hallways

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The Crossing Church
6265 Shadowbend Place
The Woodlands 77381
Church Sanctuary

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Powell Elementary School
7332 Cochran’s Crossing Drive
The Woodlands 77381
Main Hallway

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Community Christian Church
10801 Falconwing Dr
The Woodlands 77381
Worship Center

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Collins Intermediate School
6020 Shadowbend Place
The Woodlands 77381
Front Hall

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Bear Branch Recreation Center
5310 Research Forest Drive
The Woodlands 77381
Large Activity Room

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Galatas Elementary School
9001 Cochran’s Crossing Drive
The Woodlands 77381
Front Foyer

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Glen Loch Elementary School
27505 Glen Loch Drive
The Woodlands 77381

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The Woodlands High School 9th Grade Campus
10010 Branch Crossing Drive
The Woodlands 77382
Foyer by Clinic

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Barbara Bush Elementary School
7420 Crownridge Drive
The Woodlands 77382
Front Foyer

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Buckalew Elementary School
4909 West Alden Bridge
The Woodlands 77382
Front Lobby Area

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Mitchell Intermediate School
6800 Alden Bridge
The Woodlands 77382
Attendance Hallway

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Windsor Hills Homeowner's Association Club House
One Windsor Hills Circle
The Woodlands 77384

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Conroe Fire Station #4
250 Harpers Landing Boulevard
The Woodlands 77385
Police Sub Station

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Election FAQ for Randy Scott

How do you feel about the Over-65 Homestead?
I am for this because at 65 years old, many people are retired and on fixed incomes. Seniors utilize less and their burden on the community is typically less than younger people. Most cannot afford for the government to be draining their retirement accounts. In fact, many volunteer their skills and services to the community, reducing tax burdens for themselves and others. Younger people must focus on their careers and family. They do not have the time to do volunteer work as senior people do.

What is your opinion on the water taxis?
We have water taxis now but probably have too many. I believe this operation should be a private enterprise, not a government one. Our public image carries passenger boat images all over the world. Perhaps we need to dry dock some of them, change operating hours, cut the cost of operations, and certainly be forthright on what their purpose is. Private enterprise would find ways to make money with them. We have them for advertising and for short excursions by visitors and residents. They are not a transportation vehicle and not part of our mobility plan. It is very simple – keep some in operation, keep advertising their availability, keep operating them. They have a role for doing business in The Woodlands. Let’s optimize the use of what we have and minimize or eliminate the burden on residents.

You say that you support the current expanded policing plan. Can you be a little clearer in your vision?
The new plan will bring deputies closer to each neighborhood. I envision “beat cops” to be a successful practice. Yes, I am cautiously optimistic, but it does not mean that I am status quo. We will get to know our beat cops if we choose to do so. Since there remains a staff turnover of sheriff deputies, we must be able to replace them without undue stress on our residents. We need to check and measure if our vision is working. Therefore, we need to develop metrics such as the number of contacts with “beat cops” or by simple feedback from their customers (residents and businesses). My view is that we need to right-size the policing operation to fit the problem, not necessarily be staffed to respond to worse case scenarios. The local “policing city” is really the combination of Shenandoah, Oak Ridge and The Woodlands. I-45 is also part of that combination. Any comparisons to other municipalities must be in this context, looking at the areas policing staff levels, not just The Woodlands. All the police agencies act together for our safety and law enforcement. Additionally to crime response and police visibility, we need to enforce the speed limits within The Woodlands better to reduce risk to drivers who are not comfortable driving at high speed on main thoroughfares. When we have six lanes on Woodlands Parkway, we need more than ever to better enforce the speed limit for the safety of our residents. Residents should not have to complain about reckless driving that is not enforced. I might also add, there is considerable merit to starting a process to develop our own police department. In my view that is part of the consideration of what we are to be in the future as we move forward towards our final governance model.

How are you aligned politically?
I am a conservative. Conservatism is reflected in my desire to trim the budget and do the right things for the Township with as little of your money as I can. Your money is real! It isn’t anything to be taken lightly. Private enterprise typically provides more efficient operations than public enterprises. However, we must also consider our growth and that growth continues to require master planning to achieve the vision of The Woodlands. Residents must play a part in determining the use of our neighborhood streets and amenities to abate unwanted growth consequences.   

What village do you live in?
Indian Springs on the border with Panther Creek. I love my little home in the forest!

How long have you lived here?
12 years.

Why do you think you can do the job better than your opponents?
I am glad you asked it that way. My opponents are nice people, but they lack the skills and background that I bring to the table. My project management background provides you with a person having skills in managing budgets, setting the project scope and work frame correctly, asking pertinent questions, researching ideas, questioning solutions, understanding rejected alternatives, contracting issues and following up with success measures. My community background gives you deep and broad experience in this community. I also have deep information technology experience which enables me to vision time saving automated processes. I will commit 8 hours a day or more if necessary to this voluntary position, scheduling my time around my mandatory presence and involvement, without asking for prestige or honor. I do it for you, not my ego or substance. I am retired so I know what it is like to be on fixed income. I am a people’s person, eager to discuss issues with any ethnic or cultural group of any color. Therefore my friends say, "you are the real candidate". 

Are you open to ideas and complaints?
I have never failed to answer an email arriving in my inbox and often take action on it. That will not change. There will always be a REAL person here. I will answer the phone as well. Yes, I am open and encourage dialogue. I have been told several times that I am an excellent listener. When I wrote this I was working on four issues - three in Indian Springs and one in Grogan's Mill. 

Do you have a family here in The Woodlands?
 Yes, I am a bit different than many people, but the same as most. I have a wife and two children here in The Woodlands. My two lovely children and wife are Venezuelan, a vestige of working in Venezuela for Chevron. Therefore I speak Spanish as a second language. I also have four grown children in this part of Texas and four grandchildren with two additional on their way. I am blessed with family and love The Woodlands.

How would you reduce taxes?
This is not an easy subject for a sound byte. I will write a more detailed response on the Commentary before the election. All is not well with the current system of budgeting and taxation. Additional processes need to be put into place to stop over-budgeting. I have several taxation alternatives to show you which could provide more fairness than the current model. The current tax model is not fair to all residents. I want to see an analysis by the government staff. Then we will go from there. My philosophy is to tax based on REAL requirements, not spend what is available from taxation and not over justify any proposal. Windfall revenue is not meant for the government.