Mercy Health Love County - News

Puppet Show Concludes Child Abuse Prevention Month

Posted on Tuesday, April 10th, 2012


Don Sessions of the Love County Community Coalition assembles the Blue Ribbon display on the front lawn of Mercy Health/Love County Hospital and Clinic.
For the 18th year, a Child Abuse Prevention Month puppet show will make its way to all Love County Elementary Schools, April 23-26.
In the performances, the puppets tell about abuse and what they did about it. The purpose is to make it clear to young children that when personal safety or discomfort is involved, the child can say “NO” to adults and tell a trusted adult what is happening to them.
The program includes scripts on sexual abuse, physical abuse, and a humorous take on learning the 911 emergency number.
Stacey Mason and Elizabeth Davis, child-family specialists in the Family Resource Program of the Community Children’s Shelter, narrate and supervise the performances.
The puppeteers, all Marietta High School speech students, are Bethany Barber,
Brianna Caldwell, Nicole Cochran, Megan Dodd, Bethany Golden, Bailey Hallum,
Casi Hembree, Ember Hinkle, Jesse Perez, Cody Petersen, Karli Plunkett, Steven Reed, Shelbie Rushing, and Roger Thomas. Their teacher is Donna Plunkett.
Mercy Health/Love County Hospital and Clinic is furnishing “101 Ways to Praise a Child” bookmarks and “There’s No Excuse for Child Abuse” wrist ribbons to all the children.
The Love County Multidisciplinary Team of law enforcement, child welfare and medical/mental health workers that investigates child abuse and neglect is providing “Good Touch/Bad Touch” coloring books to pre-school-grade 3 students.
The Love County Community Coalition, which sponsors the annual program, points out that children rely on adults to notice and report child abuse and neglect.
 If they have reason to believe a child has been or may be harmed, callers should contact the Child Abuse Hotline, 1-800-522-3511, or local law enforcement.
Reports can be made anonymously. It is helpful if the caller can provide the child’s name, age, sex, address, phone number, directions to the home, parents’ places of employment, description of suspected abuse, current condition of the child, and gender of other family members.
Elsewhere during Child Abuse Prevention Month, a streamer of several thousand blue ribbons is on display on the front lawn of the hospital. Each ribbon represents a child service provided by schools and helping agencies during a typical year.
The individual ribbons were tied by members of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). Agency signage promoting child abuse awareness rounds out the display.
Lynn Riley gave the Blue Ribbon Day address at the Coalition’s luncheon meeting. For the past eight years, she has headed an agency of volunteers appointed by judges to be the voice of children who are under court protection because of abuse or neglect.
In 2011 Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Southern Oklahoma served 250 children with about 120 volunteers, Riley said.
Between court hearings, a CASA volunteer spends time with the child, studies the court's "treatment plan" for the child and adults in the case, and evaluates how successfully parties to the case are implementing the plan.
The CASA gets to know and work well with the child, child welfare specialists, attorney for the child, service providers in the case, such as teachers, medical workers, counselors, law enforcement, foster parents, family members, and others.
For each court hearing, the CASA is able to form and express an opinion regarding the best interest of the child. The judge weighs the advice in making decisions involving the temporary placement of the child, family reunification, or adoption.
Riley said volunteers may train at their convenience or attend formal training. The next formal training begins September 10. The CASA office number is 226-0009.