Otter Tail County shines light on need for protecting  youth from abuse

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. This month and throughout the year, Otter Tail County encourages all individuals and organizations to play a role in making the county’s communities a better place for children and families. By ensuring that parents have the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to care for their children, we can help promote the social and emotional well-being of children and youth and prevent child maltreatment.

In support of these efforts, the Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners have proclaimed April 2022 as Child Abuse Prevention Month. Child abuse and neglect is a serious problem affecting every segment of our community, and finding solutions requires input and action from everyone throughout the community. Recognizing our children are one of our most valuable resources in Otter Tail County, child abuse prevention needs to be addressed by the entire community.

Commissioner Wayne Johnson expressed his acknowledgment that child abuse prevention efforts continue throughout the year and the extra attention is a way to highlight the efforts and needs of our communities.

Communities must make every effort to promote programs and activities that create strong and thriving children and families. We must work together as a community to increase awareness about child abuse and contribute to promote the well-being of children and families in a safe, stable, and nurturing environment.

“I am extremely proud of our staff,” said Stephanie Olson, Supervisor of the Children and Families Unit. “And their passion to assist families in developing natural support systems to provide safety and stability for the children and families of our community.”

Protective factors are the strengths and resources families draw on during difficult times to shield them from life’s stresses. Research shows that when parents possess protective factors, the risk for neglect and abuse diminish and optimal outcomes for children, youth, and families are promoted. Major protective factors include knowledge of parenting, knowledge of child development, parental resilience, social connections, and concrete supports.

Deb Sjostrom, Director of Human Services, shared, “It takes a village-all of us looking out for one another-if you see something, please give us a call.”

Reporting Abuse and Neglect Contact a Child Protection Social Worker by calling 218-998-8150. After hours reports can be made by calling a local law enforcement agency. Reports can be made anonymously, unless you are a mandated reporter.