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Howington: Preventing child abuse

Prevent Child Abuse Rockdale was established 29 years ago in our community. PCAR is Newton and Rockdale’s premier provider of parent educa­tion and support.

Health Column

PCAR helps strengthen families in their ability to raise healthy children. The programs provide nurtur­ing parenting principles and proven strategies. PCAR pro­vides educational programs, guidance, support groups and links to community resources as families strive to be more competent and self-sufficient.

First Steps is a parenting support and education pro­gram provided to all families of newborns at Piedmont Rockdale (1,000 families were served in 2017 and 32 percent served were Newton County residents). Parents are visited in the hospital shortly after deliv­ery and given a “Parent Pack­et” of helpful information and resources. Because a new baby requires lifestyle adjustments, First Steps is a safety net for ev­eryone.

During the hospital visit by our coordinator, families are carefully assessed for needs and concerns in order to refer them to community resources and services. Mothers are also offered emotional support, en­couragement and a listening ear during this new chapter in their lives. PCAR also pro­vides center and home-based parenting programs through­out Newton and Rockdale counties. All programs are family-centered and designed to build nurturing parenting skills and positive child-rear­ing practices. The nurturing philosophy of non-violent par­enting focuses on the develop­ment of empathy, self-worth, self-awareness, empowerment, discipline with dignity, appro­priate roles and age-appropri­ate expectations of children’s development. We are provid­ing weekly par­enting classes for pregnant and parenting teens at Newton High School. We also offer our free par­enting classes on Thursdays from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at Common Ground Community Church off of Turner Lake Road. (For more information, please con­tact Jo Ann Compton 678-495- 7112. In 2016 and 2017, we served 1,242 Newton County residents with our prevention programs. We are able to serve in this capacity because of the support of individuals and businesses in our community.

April is Child Abuse Preven­tion Month. PCAR has “plant­ed” pinwheels throughout the community to represent the healthy, happy childhoods that every child deserves. On Sat­urday, April 28, you will have a chance to come out to the Cov­ington Square and show your support by participating in the 5K Walk for Prevention. Regis­tration is only $20.

The board president of Pre­vent Child Abuse Rockdale, Facie Goodman, has made the statement, “Healthy Families make Healthy Communities” our mantra. Not only is it the responsibility of everyone in the community to protect the children of the community, a healthy, strong community is a direct result of creating healthy, strong families.

Diane Howington is the ex­ecutive director of Prevent Child Abuse Rockdale. She has a bach­elor’s degree from University of Georgia and 18 years’ experi­ence as a social worker (7 years with Rockdale DFCS). She has 20 years’ experience facilitating parenting programs and over 25 years’ experience working with at-risk families. She serves on the board of directors of Rock­dale DFCS and Restoration Storehouse.