BRINGING AWARENESS: Pike County Attorney Howard Keith Hall welcomes the crowd to the Child Abuse Prevention and Proclamation event held at Pikeville City Park on April 5.
Medical Leader | Photo by TEDDY PAYNTER

Pike County kicks off Child Abuse Prevention

Abigail Gibson

PIKEVILLE – When children are nurtured, they grow up to be adults. But when they lack the influences of a caring adult, receive inconsistent nurturing, or experience harsh discipline, the consequences can affect their lifelong health, well-being and relationships with others.


Pike County kicked off the 2017 Child Abuse Prevention and Proclamation event at Pikeville City Park on April 5. Those in attendance participated in the program to help recognize April as Child Abuse Prevention Month.


“I am so thankful to work with such an amazing team in our community,” said Laura Kretzer, event director for Judi’s Place for Kids. “It’s our job to help children find their voice and reach their full potential.”


Child abuse or neglect often takes place in the home at the hands of a person the child knows well — a parent, relative, baby sitter, or friend of the family.


“We provide care for approximately 400 kids per year serving a five county area,” said Kretzer, a mother of three children. “Every child deserves to be protected and cared for.”


The event attracted state, county and local officials, along with social workers and members of the community to bring awareness.


“We are truly humbled that each of you in attendance has devoted time to learning how you can help prevent child abuse in Kentucky,” said Tawanna Huffman with Pike County Division of Protection and Permanency, whose department coordinates the state’s child welfare and violence prevention efforts.


Several events have been organized throughout the month of April to celebrate children in our community and build commitment in the fight against abuse.


“We are hopeful that today’s event will encourage people of the community to get involved and help the fight against child abuse,” Huffman added.


Pike County Attorney Howard Keith Hall, Honorable Judge Larry Thompson, Commonwealth Attorney Rick Bartley, State Senator Ray S. Jones II, Pike County Sheriff Rodney Scott, State Representative Chris Harris, Pikeville Police Detective Bruce Collins, State Representative Angie Hatton, Pikeville City Mayor Jimmy Carter and Judge Executive William Bill Deskins and Brian Morris took a moment to praise social workers for all they do while vowing to do all they do while vowing to do all they can to help with the fight against child abuse.


Each state is responsible for establishing its own definitions of child abuse and neglect that meet Federal minimum standards.


Valerie Huffman opened the ceremony with the National Anthem while members of the Pikeville City Police Honor Guard presented flags. Attorney Shane Hall led those in attendance with a word of prayer.


Model City Head Start children stole the hearts of all in attendance and modeled a simple example of how innocent children are with their singing of “Jesus Loves Me” and “Jesus Loves the Little Children.”