A coalition of community organizations in Berkshire County are joining together to create a united front against child abuse. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports…
According to most recent statistics from the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, over 77,000 reports of child abuse were reported annually in the Commonwealth. In those same statistics, Pittsfield, and North Adams were rated as communities with a higher occurrence of abuse.
Christa Collier, Executive Director of Berkshire County Kid’s Place, said that number can only be attributed to reported cases, and that one in four girls, and one in six boys will be likely be abused before their 18th birthday.
The Berkshire Child Protection Committee is a partnership between community organizations that work with kids across Berkshire County. 9 Groups including the Pittsfield Family YMCA are now working together to educate parents and families about the realities of child sexual abuse. Randy Kinnas, Executive Director and CEO of the Pittsfield YMCA, says that families need to be aware of the real dangers of child abuse.
Kinnas says that by having a common goal between all the involved community organizations, they can provide educational resources to all families in need.
Kelly Marion, CEO of the Gladys Allen Brigham Community Center, also in Pittsfield, says the Committee has developed a pledge to ask parents and staff in connection with the 9 organizations to follow certain steps to help prevent abuse and stay alert for situations that could compromise the safety of children.
Marion says that the next step is to distribute the pledge and inform parents.
More information on the statistics from the DCF are found here:
Organizations participating in the Berkshire Child Protection Committee
The Department of Children and Families: http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/dcf/
Gladys Allen Brigham Community Center: http://www.brighamcenter.org/index.html
Brien Center: http://www.briencenter.org/
Hillcrest Educational Centers: http://www.hillcrestec.org/accounts/68/homepage/
Berkshire County Kids Place: http://www.kidsplaceonline.org/
Berkshire Children and Families: http://www.berkshirechildren.org/
The Key Program: http://www.key.org/
Pittsfield Family YMCA: http://www.pittsfieldfamilyymca.org/
Northern Berkshire YMCA: http://ymcanb.org/