Commissioners issue Child Abuse Prevention, Sexual Assault Awareness proclamations

The Children’s Center of Susquehanna and Wyoming Counties donated and placed 160 blue pinwheels in front of the courthouse last week in recognition of April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. Each pinwheel represents an alleged case of child sexual abuse brought to the Children’s Center in 2018. STAFF PHOTO/STACI WILSON

Susquehanna County Commissioners last week issued proclamations to members of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Susquehanna and Wyoming Counties in recognition of April as Child Abuse Prevention Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Michelle Graziano, director of the Susquehanna County office of Children and Youth Services, explained the difficulties her office has faced this past year and emphasized the important role community members play.

“In 2020, Susquehanna County Services for Children and Youth investigated 142 reports of child abuse in addition to 653 additional reports of child neglect or general reports. This was a particularly challenging year as we navigated through a global pandemic that impacted all of us in different ways, but we were able to provide services through the entire year and continue to provide services today,” Graziano said.

 “April is Child Abuse Prevention month and with that in mind, I’d like to say thank you to the community for the work that you do as both mandated reporters and just concerned individuals who make the tough decision to call for help when you’re concerned about a child’s welfare. It’s because of the care within our communities that children are protected,” she said.

Andrea Vanesky, a trauma therapist at the center, thanked the commissioners.

“As Michelle said, it’s a community effort to help keep these kids safe and we’re just happy to be here and continue this tradition,” Vanesky said.

“From the bottom of my heart we thank all of you for everything you do.  I know it’s not easy,” Commissioner Judith Herschel said.

Kimberly Tuttle, from the Women’s Resource Center, accepted the proclamation for Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and also thanked commissioners.

Tuttle noted how the pandemic has required changes in the way some services were delivered but said that the center was able to continue providing services such as accompaniment, safe housing and housing assistance.

Inclement weather derailed a plan to place commemorative pinwheels outside after the presentation of the proclamations, but Tuttle told commissioners future events were planned for better weather.

“Thank you for the proclamation today and look for our events,” she said.


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