One call can save a child - October is Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month

OTTAWA, Oct. 1, 2012 /CNW/ - Only 42% of Ottawa residents claim to know how to report abuse directly to the CAS. This suggests that there are far too many vulnerable children and youth, without a voice, in our community.

During Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month, through a variety of media outlets and social media tools, it is the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa's (SAE) mission to educate the public about the prevention of abuse.

"People feel it's hard to infringe on parental rights, and they're naturally hesitant to involve themselves," says Barbara MacKinnon, Executive Director of the CAS of Ottawa. "When reporting to CAS, it doesn't mean we are going to remove a child from their home.  It is about assessing the situation and discovering whether the family may benefit from support services."

Signs may not always be prevalent in a child who has been abused or neglected. This is why it is our responsibility, as a community, to stay informed of the signs of abuse and learn when and who to call to help a child. "If your gut tells you that something's wrong, then it probably is," continues MacKinnon. Not all calls received by CAS result in an investigation, and only an extremely small percentage of investigations require that a child or youth be removed from the family home. Most often, the intervention involves simply connecting the family to services within the community. Last year, in more than 90 per cent of cases where CAS became involved, work was done with the family and the child stayed home.

This year, Mayor Jim Watson will be proclaiming October 1st as Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention day in Ottawa. To bring further awareness to the campaign, education materials, bracelets and posters will be distributed across the city.

Get involved and help protect children in our community. For more information on the signs of abuse, visit useyourvoice.ca. If you suspect child abuse or neglect call 613-747-7800, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

SOURCE: Children's Aid Society of Ottawa

For further information:

Cindy R. Perron
Communications
The Children's Aid Society of Ottawa
(613) 747-7800 ext. 2227
www.casott.on.ca