HHSA Newsroom

Children's Memorial Flag Raising: Remembering lives lost too soon.

Published April 30, 2021


All children deserve to be safe, and to raise awareness of this, the Annual Children’s Memorial Flag Raising was held on Friday, April 23, 20201 in front of the Shasta County courthouse. Children’s Memorial Day concludes National Child Abuse Prevention Month activities by honoring children who have lost their lives as a result of child abuse and neglect.

The ceremony was attended by Shasta County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA), Pathways to Hope for Children and other community partners. HHSA Children’s Services Branch Director Nancy Bolen, who has worked in child welfare for more than 20 years, spoke on the importance of the prevention and intervention work done by community agencies to support children in the community.

"Child abuse and neglect are serious public health problems," Bolen says. "The consequences of child abuse and neglect have long-term impacts on the health and well-being of families, the worst of which is child fatality. It is preventable with community-based and family-centered services that strengthen parents’ abilities while improving child safety and well-being. We join community-based programs and others to engage and serve children and families to prevent child maltreatment."

Understanding the scope of the issue is critical. According to the Centers for Disease Control, at least 1 in 7 children have experienced child abuse and/or neglect in the past year. In 2019, 1,840 of our nation’s children died as a result of violence and neglect, often inflicted by the very people entrusted with their health and safety.

Locally, Shasta County’s child welfare agency receives an average of 250 reports of suspected child abuse and neglect every month. While some reports do not call for an investigation, the rate of Shasta County reports that are investigated and substantiated as abuse or neglect is more than double the state rate. The rate of substantiated abuse or neglect for Shasta County is 17 children per 1,000, compared to the state average of 6 children per 1,000. As with the national statistics, Shasta County’s children under age 5 are at the greatest risk of experiencing serious harm.

Fortunately, no Shasta County children died from abuse or neglect in 2020/2021. However, it is critical that the community remain vigilant in its efforts to ensure the safety and well-being of our children.

To further honor those children who have lost their lives, communities can come together to support efforts to prevent child abuse and neglect. Bolen says, "Everyone benefits when children have safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments."

Sometimes the best way to help children is to offer a helping hand to parents. Or, consider becoming a mentor, opening your home to become a Resource Family, providing a home for a foster child or becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate.

Learn how to recognize the warning signs of different types of child abuse—physical, sexual, emotional and neglect. If you believe a child is experiencing abuse or neglect, please call law enforcement or child welfare at 530-225-5144.

To help raise awareness, share the HHSA’s post of the Children’s Memorial Flag @shastahhsa. For more information on child welfare, visit www.ShastaHHSA.net and click on Children’s Services, or the CDC’s Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention page at www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/childabuseandneglect/index.html

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