April is Child Abuse Prevention Awareness month in Newton County and across the country. Prevent Child Abuse Rockdale has served this community with child abuse prevention programs since 1989. In 2011, we doubled the number of programs offered in Newton County due to the closing of Prevent Child Abuse Newton and the drastic increase in need for our services. Last year, Newton DFCS processed 1,481 reports for child abuse and neglect.
Newton County DFCS served 262 children in foster care in FY2016.
We offer evidence-based parenting curriculum in center-based and home-based classes throughout the community. We served 226 Newton parents and 246 children last year with our classes.
The center-based classes were held at Eastside High School (Teen Parents) and Julia A. Porter United Methodist Church. We also served 281 Newton parents with our First Steps Program. This is a total of 753 Newton County residents who were served by our organization. In 2017, are providing parenting classes at The Rainbow Shelter and Common Ground Ministries.
According to the Robert Woods Foundation (2016), 29 percent of children in Newton County live in poverty. (The rate in 2015 was 23 percent).
Every child needs a supportive environment to ensure his or her healthy growth and development. Children living in areas of concentrated poverty are more likely to experience harmful levels of stress, violence and severe behavioral, emotional and physical problems than children overall.
The Newton Positive Parenting Program is an intensive in-home program which addresses these issues with services such as Information and Referral Services to help families find necessary resources. It also provides Life Skills classes to help parents improve basic living skills such as budgeting, managing a household and other areas that assist the parent in becoming self-sufficient. Per the Robert Woods Foundation, the Teen Birth Rate for Newton County is 43 percent compared to the Teen Birth Rate for Rockdale County which is 34 percent.
The Newton Positive Parenting Program serves pregnant teens and parents ages 12 to 25. Our prevention-intervention programs help to stop the dysfunction and engage individuals and families in the process of building positive nurturing beliefs, knowledge and skills. Education is the number one strategy for preventing child abuse.
We can provide these wonderful services because of strong partnerships in the community with agencies, non-profits, schools, businesses, individuals and the faith community. You have an opportunity to become a part of the solution. We need YOUR help and YOUR commitment in order to continue our programs in Newton County.
Please attend our annual fundraiser at Café Milano in Conyers on Saturday, April 29, from 12-4 p.m. Tickets are $50 and include a delicious meal. We will have exciting raffle items such as Disney World and Dolly Wood Passes. Tickets may be purchased on-line at pcarockdale.org. For information on how you can become a sponsor of this event, please contact Katie Beam at 404-401-6983.
Diane Howington has lived in the community for most of her life. She grew up in Conyers and has lived in Newton County for the last 34 years. She has 17 years’ experience as a social worker (seven years with Rockdale DFCS as Community Resource Specialist and the last 10 years as executive director of Prevent Child Abuse Rockdale.She has more than 25 years’ experience working with at-risk families.