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Hartselle Enquirer

Businesses, community pull together to fight abuse

By Staff
Tracy B. Cieniewicz, Hartselle Enquirer
Nearly one million cases of child abuse and neglect are reported yearly across America, but the estimated occurrence rate of child abuse and neglect is actually five times greater than the number of cases reported.
Tiki Hubbard doesn't consider this statistic a problem, but rather an epidemic.
Hubbard is the executive director of PACT (Parents And Children Together) of Morgan County, an organization which offers free individual and family services to strengthen the family and prevent child abuse and neglect.
PACT is teaming with businesses and community organizations across the area to recognize April as National Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month.
"During times of economic hardship, stress arises, anger surfaces, and children are sometimes hurt," Hubbard said.
"When the need for family services is greatest, the funds for providing them are often the least. PACT is asking the community to patronize Morgan County's Blue Ribbon Businesses April 19-30. The blue ribbons symbolize the protection of children against abuse. A portion of the proceeds will to help prevent child abuse in Morgan County. For every $1 spent on prevention, $9.60 is saved in treatment."
PACT, founded in 1978 when child abuse was just taking on a legal definition, offers parent education courses, direct services, public awareness and school based programs. All programs are offered in both English and Spanish.
"As child abuse research changes, our services change also," PACT Special Projects Manager Beth Tutwiler said. "We're available to people of all ages through referrals, walk-ins, and word of mouth. In a recent customer satisfaction survey, the majority of people say their families are functioning better after receiving PACT services."
The second annual Family Fun Day will be held Saturday, April 24, 10 a.m.-9 p.m., at Rhodes Ferry Park on the river in Decatur, sponsored by PACT, the Decatur Parks and Recreation Department and Decatur General Rehab Access in recognition of National Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month.
The event will feature a full day of live entertainment and fun for the entire family, followed by a country music concert by the river featuring Jeff Whitlow at 6 p.m. and Natchez Trace at 7 p.m., sponsored by GMAC Mortgage Company.
The Woodmen of the World Barbecue Team will also be cooking barbecue and rib plates for dinner. Barbecue must be pre-paid and pre-ordered and picked up at Family Fun Day between 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Contact the PACT office at 355-7252 or Kathy Gray at 355-7616 to place your order.
Another event PACT sponsored during the month of April was the seond annual Child Safety Conference: Protecting Our Children and Teens. More than 16 community sponsors brought state and national speakers to Morgan County for a daylong conference on child abuse, neglect and sexual assault.
"We were glad to have this opportunity to further raise awareness in the community about preventative measures, signs, and what to do if abuse is suspected," Tutwiler said.
"A lot of people don't want to think it could happen in their family, but education is the best deterrent. Abuse has nothing to do with intellect or economic status."
For more information on PACT and its services, call 355-7252.

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