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Douglas County celebrates children, works to end abuse

THE DAILY TELEGRAM Children filled Douglas County Courthouse this morning for a celebration in their honor. April is Child Abuse Prevention Month nationwide and Douglas County and Superior officials named today Celebrate Children Day to recognize...

THE DAILY TELEGRAM

Children filled Douglas County Courthouse this morning for a celebration in their honor.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month nationwide and Douglas County and Superior officials named today Celebrate Children Day to recognize the importance of child abuse prevention.

Steve Koszarek read a proclamation for the county and Mayor David Ross read one for the city of Superior.

Northern Lights Elementary School second graders and Cathedral School fourth graders shared with the community information they learned about using positive words instead of hitting through the Douglas County Council on Child Protection campaign.

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Council member Barb Wiklund and college interns Katie Gordon and Renee Snaza read "Hands are not for Hitting" and "Words are not for Hurting" to the students respectively. This month, the trio will visit head start and four-year-old kindergarten programs throughout the county to read "Hands are not for Hitting."

The books teaches children to do positive activities with their hands instead of hurting others. It gives them an early introduction to preventing abuse, said Brian Lundberg, council chairman.

The council is also distributing "Celebrate Children" stickers to county school children to draw awareness to the problem.

In 2006, Douglas County had 1,096 reports of suspected neglect or abuse.

The goal of the Douglas County Council on Child Protection is to promote agencies, organizations and individuals who do work to protect and help abused and neglected children.

"Part of what we do also is to support any organization already doing this in the community, but people don't really recognize it," Lundberg said. "That's our whole focus, to make people aware of resources in the community."

The Department of Human Services also held an open house of its Child First facility this afternoon.

The Council on Child Protection is a group made up of several county agencies, organizations and individuals.

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Starting in 2008 the council will sponsor a Friends of Children Award to recognize individuals, agencies and businesses in the area that offer services to children.

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