WOOD RIVER — Six-hundred fifty brave children were interviewed at the Madison County Child Advocacy Center in 2015.
These children had their lives disrupted by an allegation of severe physical or sexual abuse. To raise awareness for child abuse prevention, the Madison County Child Advocacy Center is holding its fifth annual Kids Health, Safety and Activity Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 23, at Julia’s Banquet Center. The fair is presented by the Madison County Mental Health Board and Riverbend Family Ministries.
“This is truly a day just for kids,” Executive Director Carrie Cohan said. “The center will be giving out free bike helmets while supplies last. There will be various vendors from the community, plenty of activities and some special entertainment. All children deserve a happy and healthy childhood.”
Previously held at the Alton Square Mall, this event will have a new location this year — Julia’s Banquet Center in East Alton. The fair features activities for children and a balloon artist from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Bike helmets will be given to children while supplies last, and there are great acts lined up for the stage. The Kids Business Expo will allow child entrepreneurs to show off their skills.
During Child Abuse Prevention Month in April, the center and other organizations focus on raising awareness of child abuse in Madison County. It is estimated that one in every 22 children is involved in an abuse allegation. That’s more than one child per classroom. The center has a specific role to play in the child abuse investigation process. The center is a resource for children brave enough to disclose abuse. Through a recorded forensic interview, children are able to share their story one time, in a safe and supportive environment. The center works with a team (composed of law enforcement, DCFS, medical and mental health professionals, and the Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office) dedicated to helping children and their families find hope and healing.
There is no cost to attend the fair. For information, contact Claire Cooper at (618) 296-5398 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.