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Front Page » April 22, 2003 » Local News » Justice center battles child abuse problems in Carbon Cou...
Published 4,550 days ago

Justice center battles child abuse problems in Carbon County area

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Staff writer

Shannon Draper assists Monica Safreed at the counter in the Price post office. Safreed and other post office patrons encountered a busier mailing facility than usual because of all the local residents who waited until the April 15 deadline to submit the income tax returns to the state and Internal Revenue Service. The latest data complied by the United States Census Bureau ranks Utah's 2000 tax burden as a percent of personal income as the ninth highest in the nation. When fees are factored into the equation, Utah's total burden ranked 10th in the United States.

Child abuse is a problem facing every community in the nation. No city or town is immune to family abuse.

In Carbon County, the Family Support and Children's Justice Center recognizes the problem and takes every step possible to assist families affected by these situations.

The local facility is not designed as an escape outlet for abused children however, the center will assist families and ensure that they get the proper support they need to recover and overcome these types of problems.

Families who do experience an abusive episode may contact the center and receive proper assistance.

The justice center serves as a family advocate for those in troubled situations and will make sure that no one is turned away without some type of help.

The center mainly focuses on preventing abuse from happening. Justice center director Terri Willis describes the public facility as a homelike environment which is a place to find help during times of crisis and services to prevent other crisis situations from happening.

"The one thing that we worry about is that the community thinks this is a place which only troubled and low income families can come to. We are not a day care and we do not turn anyone away. It is not a program that looks at financial status. Rather, we look at each person's needs and provide the proper assistance for each situation," explained the director.

As a community support center, the local facility works with various community agencies including the courts and law enforcement agencies.

"We have rooms here that allow families to sit down and discuss problems. The rooms are equipped with audio devices so that interviews may also be conducted by law enforcement officers.

The area is designed to be a child friendly space which will allow children to feel like themselves and they will not make them feel like they are in some kind of trouble," Willis explained.

The building which houses the justice center is designed like a home. Everything from bedrooms to a kitchen and a wash room are housed in the building. This allows families to feel at home while they are receiving assistance.

In some situations, families are even invited to use the facility overnight. Again, each situation is different and proper actions are made to reflect these circumstances.

A crisis nursery is located at the facility. It is designed to provide a safe, homelike setting where parents can bring their children when the family is in a stressful situation.

Children ages 0 to 11 years can stay at the nursery and they can be brought in by parents or legal guardians and may stay for periods up to 72 hours.

The nursery is intended to be a means of preventing abuse. It is not a drop off daycare program.

Parents can drop their children off for the following reasons and take advantage of the crisis nursery.


•Family crisis.

•Court appearances.

•Doctor appointments.

•Medical emergencies.

•Mental health appointments.

•Escaping family violence.

•Attending parent classes or divorce classes.

•AA meetings or narcotic anonymous gatherings.

The center also provides Carbon County residents with information regarding assistance from community services and crisis intervention.

"The main thing that we focus on is preventing abuse from happening. We are available for residents to call and receive information about how to overcome minor crises," stated the support center director.

"If we can't help directly, we will refer residents to someone who can help," added Willis.

The strong emphasis of preventing abuse is something which every parent or guardian in Carbon County should be aware of.

Minor situations arise which can easily escalate into an abusive situation.

In order to prevent child abuse from occurring, the center provides the following tips to local residents.

•Positive discipline teaches children responsibility and effective discipline increases a children's self-esteem.

•Fear, guilt, humiliation and anger are ineffective punishments.

•It's impossible for an adult to make sensible discipline choices if they are not thinking irrationally. Step back from the situation until calm.

•Use love and patience with infants. Children this young do not understand discipline of any kind.

•Shaking an infant is dangerous. Never, never shake an infant.

•Hitting and spanking create fear rather than respect and teach children to use violence.

•Set clear and reasonable limits for each child. Also allow the child to have a say in setting behavior limits.

•Listen to what the child thinks about rules.

•Deny privileges such as watching television or eating sweets for inappropriate behavior. Never deny meals or other basic needs.

•For following discipline, forgive the child with a hug and discuss what happened.

•Keep the good things the child does in mind.

•Balance discipline with fun, loving times with the child and praise children for behaving correctly.

•Providing love and approval for a child will decrease required discipline.

Carbon County citizens who need more information about preventing abuse or who need help to overcome the cycle of abuse, may contact the justice center at 637-0281. Information and care is available to all residents.

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