Spotlight Agency | July 2013
Wynona’s House Child Advocacy Center is Our Spotlight Agency!
Newark, Essex Officials Visit Wynona’s House To Raise Awareness Of Child Abuse
By David Giambusso/The Star-Ledger
on June 18, 2013 at 5:53 PM, updated June 18, 2013 at 5:54 PM
NEWARK — While summertime for many children means no school, trips to the beach and summer camp, for many it can also mean a season rife with opportunities for abuse.
“During the summer there’s a lot less supervision,” Newark schools Superintendent Cami Anderson said today. “We all have to be vigilant.”
Anderson, along with Mayor Cory Booker and acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray, joined leaders at Wynona’s House Child Advocacy Center — a Newark non-profit that coordinates law enforcement and community groups to prevent child abuse — to hold a blue-ribbon ceremony and raise awareness about child abuse.
Blue ribbons are the symbol of child abuse prevention and dozens were hung outside Wynona’s House today.
“This team here is a force of nature,” said Wynona’s House Executive Director Evelyn Mejil flanked by the investigators, doctors, nurses, social workers, educators, and volunteers that help prevent, prosecute, and counsel child abuse cases. “I have never seen more valor, more dedication, more commitment.”
Mejil offered some harrowing statistics about child abuse and neglect in America – one in four girls and in six boys will be the victims of sexual abuse before adulthood.
Roughly five children a day die in the U.S. from abuse and neglect, she said, and that the the country pays $124 billion a year battling and treating child abuse.
David Sims, the Essex area director of the Division of Child Protection and Permanency, (formerly the Division of Youth and Family Services) said his office received 7,748 reports of child abuse and neglect in 2012 alone. Statewide there were 74,274 re
Murray said that in 2011, eight children in Essex County died from abuse and neglect, but in 2012 only one died.
“We urge parents to be aware,” Murray said. “Be smart about the summer. Approach it with a plan.”
Booker said child abuse was among the biggest factors leading to the cycle of violence that plagues Newark and other cities.
“It is anguishing to me to see us arrest more and more children,” he said referring to teenagers’ involvement in crime and violence. “Many of the children were victims of violence themselves.”
Officials urged residents to report abuse at (877) 652-2873.