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Photo by Andrew Richards
The Honorable Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder welcomes the crowd to an event focusing on child abuse prevention.
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Photo by Andrew Richards
Derek Hobson, regional administrator for the southern region of Illinois’ DCFS, speaks at the county’s child abuse prevention month kickoff event on Tuesday, April 1. The event was one of six in the state.
EDWARDSVILLE – County and statewide officials kicked off the month of April on Tuesday with an event highlighting children abuse prevention.
“The 2014 prevention month in Illinois supports and celebrates children and families,” said Elaine Duensing of the program Prevent Child Abuse Illinois.
The event, held in the County Administration Building, featured several speakers such as Duensing, State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons, Associate Judge Clarence Harrison and Derek Hobson of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
There were also information booths on programs that deal with child abuse.
Other officials in attendance were County Chairman Alan Dunstan, Assistant State’s Attorney Amy Gabriel and Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder, who emceed the event.
“Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today on a subject that is very dear to my heart,” said Hobson, who cited a national statistic that “every 10 seconds we stand here … there’s another report of (child) abuse.”
“Since 1964, the rules of DCFS have been to maintain the safety and well-being of the children that we have contact with,” he said, “And to secure hundreds of homes for children who come into our care and offer revisions of our services for families we support.”
“The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services receives, we act on and we report abuse every five minutes,” Hobson said.
Gibbons spoke about the community coming together to help prevent child abuse.
The state’s attorney announced at last year’s kickoff event the creation of a children’s justice division within his office to better coordinate his office’s response to cases involving the children of Madison County.
Gabriel, who’s been with the State’s Attorney’s Office since 2002, was appointed to lead the division, which handles felony, misdemeanor, juvenile delinquency, juvenile abuse and child support cases.
“I want you all to look around the room and look at each other,” Gibbons said. “All the people in the room. Every day they’ve held their mission to prevent child abuse.”
Dunstan also announced the county’s pledge to join in the state proclamation declaring April as child abuse prevention month.