In recognition of National Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month the community is invited to an open house to be held at the Chattanooga Family Justice Center (FJC) on Wednesday, April 4, from 11 a.m-1 pm. The FJC is at 5705 Uptain Road.
April was first declared Child Abuse Prevention Month by presidential proclamation in 1983. Since then, April has been a time to acknowledge the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse. Every hour of every day, there is allegation of child abuse in Tennessee. Unfortunately, child abuse is a problem in every county and community across Tennessee. The average age for a child to experience abuse is nine years old; most adult perpetrators of child abuse are someone the child know. The Family Justice Center and it’s onsite partners want the community to know that child abuse and maltreatment is serious and can even be fatal if help is not sought.
Kristen McCallie, executive director of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Hamilton County (CAHC) adds that “Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month is a time that the Children’s Advocacy Center highlights the work being done by our advocates as well as our community partners. We are privileged to work with our colleagues at the Family Justice Center and support families dealing with the complexities of abuse by providing help, hope, and healing.”
Richard Tate, regional director for Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee, the newest onsite partner organization at the FJC, adds “There are people in every community who are actively working to protect children without even realizing it - from volunteers at after school programs and in faith communities, to tutors, to coaches and mentors. Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee’s focus during Child Abuse Prevention Month is to recognize those that are doing great things in the lives of children and encourage others to find ways to support families and children. The future prosperity and success of our children depends on the entire community working together to make families stronger, and creating spaces where children can thrive.
“Since the Chattanooga FJC opened in 2014, we have been working together with our onsite partner organizations to show that our community is committed to stopping family violence including child abuse” says Valerie Radu, executive director of the Chattanooga Family Justice Center. ”Child abuse and maltreatment has an enormous economic impact on our city and state. Our center offers a comprehensive resource center of free services for victims of domestic violence. Our largest onsite partner the CAHC, provides extensive forensic and therapeutic services for children who have experienced sexual abuse or severe physical abuse.”
On Wednesday, April 4, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. the Family Justice Center Conference will host an open house with tours, light lunch, and presentations from the CAHC and Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee (PCAT). Tours are offered at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. with the main presentations and light lunch beginning at 11:30am. For questions, call the FJC at 643-7600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Family Justice Center encourages the community to use the 24-hour hotline at 423 755-2700 at the Partnership for Families, Children and Adults to access safe shelter for victims of domestic violence. The statewide Child Abuse Hotline # 1-877-237-0004 and the statewide Human Trafficking Hotline number is 1-855-55-TNHTH. The Family Justice Center is open from 8:30a to 5:00pm Monday – Friday with extended evening hours until 7:30pm on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of each month.
The community is invited to reach out to the FJC to request presentations, trainings, or other types of participation. Inviting speakers with expertise to church, civic, and business functions is essential to increasing awareness and understanding.