The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Iron County marks Child Abuse Prevention Month

 

April 21, 2018

Submitted photo

IRON COUNTY Sheriff Tony Furyk pours a root beer float for a student at the Mercer, Wis., School on Thursday. Members of the sheriff's department were at the school as part of Iron County's Child Abuse Prevention Month activities.

By RICHARD JENKINS

rjenkins@yourdailyglobe.com

Hurley - April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and Iron County is holding a variety of events throughout the month to raise awareness about how to recognize signs of possible abuse.

Members of the Iron County Sheriff's Department were in Mercer Thursday, serving root beer floats to the students.

Teresa Way, a children's social worker with the Iron County Human Services Department, said the event was a way for the students to meet the members of the department in a safe, friendly setting.

"The whole point of that was for the children to see law enforcement in a different light," said Way, who is helping organize the month's activities. "A lot of kids are afraid of the police."

The sheriff's department and Hurley Police Department are scheduled to serve floats at the Hurley School next week.

There are also movie nights planned in Hurley and Mercer. The free movie night will feature a showing of "Wonder" at the Hurley K-12 School at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. A date is still being determined in Mercer, according to Way.

A coloring and poster contest is also being held for all Iron County students - not just those in the two schools.

The contest is divided into age divisions between pre-K and 12th grade, according to Way, with District Attorney Matt Tingstad, Hurley Police Chief Chris Colassaco and Iron County Sheriff Tony Furyk judging the entries.

There are also blue ribbons at the courthouse to wear or put on a vehicle's antenna to help raise awareness.

Way said it is important for people to be aware of the signs of possible child abuse, which can include physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglect.

Signs can range from unexplained bruises or burns for physical abuse to poor hygiene or being unsupervised for long periods of time for neglect.

Above all, Way said people should contact the department if they suspect there is abuse.

"People always say, 'I don't know if I should call CPS.' It's our job to investigate, we'll take care of that," Way said, referring to people being unsure of whether something rises to the level of abuse. "Call and we'll take care of it."

People may fear being seen as a nosy neighbor, but Way said it's important they trust their instincts and call if something is wrong.

She brought up the recent example of the family in California accused of holding their 13 children captive in their house.

Iron County and the surrounding area takes pride in the region's strong sense of community, Way said, which should extend to protecting the community's children.

"These are our children. We're a community, these are our children and it takes a village," Way said.

In some cases, there may even be resources available to help a family alleviate a potentially neglectful situation.

"What if that family just needs resources, you're helping your neighbor," Way said. "And then we can offer resources to help that family."

Those reporting cases of possible abuse remain anonymous, Way said, and reports can be made 24/7 with there being on-call staff available outside of normal business hours.

The Iron County Human Services Department can be contacted at 715-561-3636, or the sheriff's department can be called at 715-561-3800 if it's after hours.

 
 

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