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  Sunday November 23rd, 2014    

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This is Child Abuse Prevention Month (04/09/2006)
The Winona County Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Council was formed in 1995. When the council first formed, the majority of the members also served on the child protection team. Currently members includes child protection staff, representatives from Public Health nursing, Winona county schools, the Women's Resource Center, Winona Exchange Club, court services, Winona County Collaborative, Winona County Citizens Review Panel and Hiawatha Valley Mental Health Center.

The primary focus of the council is to provide community education on issues related to child abuse and neglect prevention. It does not provide intervention but works on prevention using education as a primary tool. Throughout the school year, materials are sent to parents through the three school districts and private schools in Winona County. These materials cover topics including stress and parenting, shaken baby syndrome, resources for parents and families, and the relationship between domestic violence and child abuse.

April is recognized nationally as Child Abuse Prevention month. The council sponsors the blue ribbon campaign to remind the community of the responsibility we all have in protecting our children. The blue ribbon is a symbol of child abuse prevention. It origins date back to 1989 when a Chesapeake, VA grandmother named Bonnie Finney adopted the blue ribbon as a testimonial to her three-year-old grandson who was murdered by his mother's abusive boyfriend. Betty states, "One day I was just thinking about all the bruises on the grandchildren especially my grandson's head. I decided I was going to tie a blue ribbon to my van. Why blue? I intend to never forget the battered bruised bodies of my grandchildren. Blue serves as a constant reminder to me to fight for the protection of our children".

The council purchases blue ribbons and makes them available throughout the county in April. It is the council's belief that displaying the blue ribbon can help raise awareness, encourage discussion and stimulate actions that will prevent tragedies like the death of Bonnie Finney's grandson. This year the Leo Club, a community service club from the middle school, produced over 300 blue ribbons for distribution. The council will work with businesses in the county to disseminate the ribbons. Presentations of the blue ribbons are made to the city council, county commissioners and school boards. Blue wristbands are also available this year at a cost of $1.00. Blue ribbons and wrist bands will be available at Community Education, Winona Middle school, Public Health Nursing, the Women's Resource Center and Winona County Human Services.

The council will also sponsor the hands are not hitting contest for students in grades 3-5 throughout Winona County. Winning entries will receive a savings bond from Winona National bank and have their posters displayed on placemats in area restaurants through the month of April.

The Winona County Child Abuse and Prevention Council remind all community residents that it should not hurt to be a child and encourage residents to wear a blue ribbon for a child. 

 

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