Health care professionals around the Grand Valley are taking an extra step to help in the fight against child abuse and neglect.
In a single day Mesa County Department of Human Services answers an average of 30 phone calls.
“Locally we have four dedicated call takers that are on the phone,” said Nicci Surad, part of the Child Welfare Receiving & Outreach Team, picking up calls placed to the organizations Child Abuse Hotline –to help out children who are or have been victims of child abuse and neglect.
“Children are our smallest, most precious community members and they deserve to be protected. They don’t have voices of their own.”
The hotline is for someone to report when a child is being abused and is used as a guide to gather information about the parents or caretakers –whether it be positive or negative.
“Every family no matter what they’re going through, there’s strengths in that family as well and we can tap into those strengths and help partner with the family to try to improve some of those concerns.”
But helping out child abuse victims goes beyond a simple phone call –“It’s a community effort. We cannot patrol the streets and look for child abusers. We need phone calls from the community in order for us to take any action.”
That’s why Mesa County Department of Human Services is teaming up with pediatricians around the Grand Valley –who can educate on what child abuse can look like.
“The medical community sees these kids on a regular basis and being able to educate and collaborate with them will hopefully lead to us getting reports of some of those minor injuries.”
Doctors, counselors, and those in the medical field will be provided with the tools needed to catch minor injuries before it leads to something worse.
“To really know what they’re looking for –social aspects of abuse and neglect, the physical aspects. So they see those signs early on so they can report them.”
With the teamwork between Mesa County Department of Human Services and the pediatricians they hope to increase phone calls –so no child’s abuse goes ignored again.
If you or anyone you know has been a victim of child abuse you can call the local Child Abuse Hotline at 970-242-1211. The hotline is available 24/7.