PHOTO: County Mayor Rogers Anderson (left) stands next to local leaders in child advocacy groups in Franklin on Monday after the proclamation. / Photo by Alexander Willis
BY ALEXANDER WILLIS
County Mayor Rogers Anderson signed a proclamation Monday afternoon, officially decreeing April as “Child Abuse Prevention Month,” thanking leaders from child advocacy groups present during the signing.
“I have a very soft spot in my heart with children and elderly people,” Anderson said. “When you think about our youth not getting a fair shake in life… I don’t have a lot of sympathy for those types of situations at all.”
Grouped together in Anderson’s office in the Administrative Complex in Franklin, Executive Director of Davis House, Marcus Stamps, Executive Director of CASA for Children, Marianne Schroer, as well as other local leaders showed support for the proclamation, and stressed how important it is to raise awareness of child abuse.
Founded in 1999, Davis House is a nonprofit organization that provides support and services to help children who are victims of abuse. An acronym for Court Appointed Special Advocates, CASA is also a nonprofit organization that, as the name implies, supports court appointed advocates for abused or neglected children.
Schroer said that CASA’s number of clients has doubled in the past few years, with Stamps saying Davis House had taken on 510 in the past year from their local service area, with 363 of those being from Williamson County.
For residents who want to help end children abuse, Stamps said the best thing to do is to learn the warning signs.
“They can learn the signs and symptoms of abuse; all types, abuse and neglect,” Stamps said. “They can take training courses, they can be willing to talk about the issue and not sweep it under the rug.”
Another important point Stamps mentioned was to not brush off any comments made by children.
“Believe children when they tell you something,” Stamps said. “Statistics show that children very rarely lie about these things. Even if you think they’re lying, you should let them know you believe them in that moment so that other people can work and determine what actually happened, because it’s critical to that child that you believe them.”
Stamps also said that child abuse crosses all social and economic lines, and favors no type of child in particular.
Davis House also provides free training for adults, in which warning signs and other means of prevention are broken down. To learn more about adult training classes from Davis House, click here, and to learn more about how to help with CASA’s mission, click here.
“Over the years I’ve watched this organization push, tug and pull, trying to get an awareness and educational piece that all of us need in the community,” Anderson said. “Unfortunately, I wish we didn’t have any of these issues to deal with, but we do. The organization, under Marcus’ leadership and all the staff and support staff that goes with that just makes it a better place in which to live and work, and it gives the children an opportunity too.”