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Child sexual abuse prevention program moves forward

Working with the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy, the Lamar County Family Connection Collaborative is moving toward a countywide emphasis on training at least 722 people here on how to prevent child sexual abuse, recognize the signs and react responsibly, LCFCC director Dorothy Carter reported. The ‘722’ figure comes from a recent presentation to the collaborative members by Krista Gonce, regional prevention coordinator for GCCA. It represents 5% of the Lamar County population, a ‘tipping point’ at which a cultural change in attitude is likely to occur, said Carter. GCCA promotes the use of a Stewards of Children program developed specifi cally to enlist all adults, whether associated with children or not, to become part of the eradication of child sexual abuse. Carter said the collaborative is gathering information on people and organizations interested in attending or sponsoring Stewards of Children and will proceed with further steps after Gonce returns to Lamar County in May. Those who lead the training will be equipped as facilitators by GCCA. Mark Stone, who represents the city of Barnesville in the collaborative, said, ‘Our community has to mobilize to prevent sexual abuse from happening to our children now, not later. This program is part of the solution via heightened awareness and education. Besides the collaborative, I’m sure there will be many other community groups including schools, churches, agencies and individuals who will want to be a part of this specialized training opportunity. It isn’t an option for us to do nothing ‘“ strong leaders have to come together to pursue any and all effective resources to help ensure the safety of our kids.’

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