During their regular meeting on Thursday, the Board of Commissioners officially proclaimed April as Child Abuse Prevention Month in Multnomah County.
Before bringing up presenters from the nonprofit Children’s Trust Fund Of Oregon, Commissioner Loretta Smith -- who sponsored the proclamation -- set the tone of for Thursday’s presentation.
“Child abuse prevention is the responsibility of all citizens of Multnomah County,” said Smith. “Providing children with the tools they need and families to have a safe and nurturing environment is one of the ways that we can reduce the risk of abuse of children.”
Pamela Heisler, child abuse prevention specialist at the Children’s Trust Fund of Oregon shared some key figures with the county board about the prevalence of child abuse and neglect in the region:
● In 2013, about 1,300 children were victims of child abuse or neglect in Multnomah County.
● According to the analysis of the Children’s Trust Fund of Oregon, the lifetime cost of child abuse, per case is about $210,000 per child.
● Multnomah County is home to more than 12 percent of all abused and neglected kids in Oregon.
● In Multnomah County, only 33 percent of children who need it have access to evidence-based, child abuse prevention programs.
Susan Lindauer, executive director of the Children’s Trust Fund of Oregon, told commissioners that her organization has set a goal of reducing child abuse and neglect by 40 percent statewide by 2020.
The organization plans on reaching this goal by investing $700,000 in evidence-based, community-based programs that reach more than 46,000 families a year. Programs including Self Enhancement Inc., Volunteers of America, and Native American Youth and Family Center.
“This work that you do with prevention is tremendously valuable in the life of a child,” Commissioner Judy Shiprack told Lindauer and Heisler. “Tremendously valuable in the life of a community.”