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FOR RELEASE: March 28 , 2006
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Public Health Officials Offer Tips For Being a Nurturing Parent
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and a time to reflect on ways to increase child abuse prevention efforts through good parenting. Nationally, about 2,450 children are abused or neglected every day, with an average of four child deaths occurring each day as a result of that abuse or neglect. In 2004 in Oklahoma, there were more than 12,000 confirmations of child abuse and/or neglect. During that same year, 51 Oklahoma children died as a result of child abuse and neglect.

“Many of the survivors will need counseling, social, and health services for the rest of their lives, in order to recover and to try to break a cycle of abuse and neglect. This affects the health and well being of not only the individual, but our entire state,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Crutcher. “Prevention is the key to breaking a cycle of abuse or neglect. Our local county health departments offer services that can help build healthy families and community support systems to help families thrive,” he said.

A healthy nurturing relationship between parent and child is built over time. There are no absolute guidelines to being a good parent except to show the child that he or she is loved. Since different parenting techniques work for different children under different circumstances, the Oklahoma State Department of Health’s Office of Child Abuse Prevention offers the following suggestions for parents to help build healthy families:
Help your children feel loved and secure. Make sure your children know you love them - even when they do something wrong.
Encourage your children by praising their achievements and talents and recognizing the skills they are developing.
Spend time with you children doing things that you both enjoy. Listen to them.
Learn how to use nonphysical options for discipline that are appropriate for your child’s age and development, or redirect your child’s attention by offering choices, and/or use “time out” as a way to discipline.
Seek help if you need it. Sometimes special circumstances like unemployment, or a child with special needs, can add stress to the family. If you need additional support, try to talk to a friend, healthcare provider, faith leader, or counselor about what you are experiencing, or join a support group for parents.

For those interested in supporting child abuse prevention activities outside of your own home, please consider participating in these efforts:

Many libraries across Oklahoma are promoting positive parenting techniques during the month of April. Contact your local library for useful books and videos. In particular, a new video series, “I Am Your Child” is on many library shelves. This series includes 12 videos covering a variety of topics for parents and professionals.

Attend the Child Abuse Prevention “Dome Lighting. ” On Tuesday, April 4, at 7:30 p.m., the State Capitol’s dome will be lit blue to commemorate Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Participate in Child Abuse Prevention Day at the State Capitol on Tuesday, April 11. A number of activities are scheduled including a proclamation signing with Gov. Brad Henry.

Increase awareness of child abuse prevention in your community by volunteering to serve on your local District Task Force for Child Abuse Prevention. The District Task Forces sponsor activities throughout the month of April in order to highlight the need for more prevention efforts.

For more information about these and other child abuse prevention activities, please contact Sherie Trice at the Oklahoma State Department of Health at 405/271-7611 or SherieT@health.ok.gov.

Editor’s Note: Attached please find a list of Oklahoma’s District Task Force Child Abuse Coordinators.

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DISTRICT COUNTIES INCLUDED COORDINATOR
I Pittsburg, Haskell, LeFlore, and Latimer Barbara O’Steen
OK Child Care Resource
and Referral
(580) 745-2105
II McIntosh, Adair, Cherokee, Muskogee, Okmulgee, Sequoyah, and Wagoner Margaret Cook
Help-In-Crisis
(918) 456-0673
III Cleveland, Coal, Garvin, McClain, and Pontotoc Tammy Blevins-Purser
Chickasaw Nation
(405) 527-6667
IV Canadian, Kingfisher and Logan Becky Reuter
Sooner Success, Child Study Center
(405) 271-5700 x45144
V Pottawatomie, Seminole, and Hughes

Laura Allison, Co-Coordinator
Unzner Center
(405) 878-9597

Crystal Ward, Co-Coordinator
Pottawatomie County
United Way, Success by Six
(405) 273-6833

VI Grady, Jefferson, Stephens, Cotton, Comanche, and Caddo

Tamara McClanahan (CONTACT)
Kids Are Special Program
Marie Detty
Youth & Family Services, Inc.
(580) 252-5302

Sherry Mabry (CONTACT)
Onaa Program, Comanche Nation
(580) 492-3766

VII Oklahoma Micah Stirling
Exchange Club Parent-Child Center
(405) 232-2500
VIII Kiowa, Jackson, Greer, Harmon, and Tillman Anna Wehrle
Great Plains Youth & Family Services
(580) 726-3383
IX Beckham, Custer, Blaine, Dewey, Roger Mills, and Washita Anna Wehrle
Great Plains Youth & Family Services
(580) 726-3383
X Woodward, Beaver, Cimarron, Ellis, Harper, and Texas

Dian Noyes
Healthy Families Texas County, OSU Cooperative Extension Service
(580) 468-8687

Tom A. Marcum
Dept. of Human Services, Child Welfare Division,
(580) 256-1096

XI Payne, Creek, Lincoln, Okfuskee, and Pawnee

Cynthia Adair
Sapulpa Public Schools Area Family Education Resource Center
(918) 224-1789

Mary Melton
Payne County Health Dept.
(405) 372-8200

XII Tulsa Barbara Fyffe
Parent Child Center of Tulsa
(918) 599-7999
XIII Delaware, Rogers, Craig, Mayes, Ottawa, Washington, and Nowata Marilyn Reitinger
Bartlesville Public Schools
(918) 336-9106
XIV Garfield, Alfalfa, Grant, Major, and Woods John Jones/ Brenda Rose (CONTACT)
Northwest Family Services
(580) 327-2900
XV Carter, Johnston, Love, and Murray

Barbara Sessions (for Love Co.)
(580) 276-2333

Joanne Thomas (for Carter Co.)

Gloria Ainsworth
Child Development Center, Inc.
(580) 226-3321

XVI Pushmataha, Atoka, Bryan, Choctaw, Marshall and McCurtain Pam Waugh
Little Dixie Community Action Agency
(580) 326-6441 or 317-4071
XVII Kay, Noble and Osage Jan Justice & Lurline Hall
Northern Oklahoma Youth Services
(580) 762-8341

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