CADIZ - Harrison County commissioners on Wednesday passed a resolution recognizing April as Child Abuse Prevention Month.
The Harrison County Department of Job and Family Services is asking local organizations and businesses to observe Wear Blue to Work Day on Wednesday.
"All of Ohio has gotten more involved in spreading the message that abuse and neglect are preventable," said Harrison County Children Services supervisor Linda Porter. "Here in our county the number of reported cases of child abuse has gone up from 408 last year to 425 this year, and unfortunately the nature of the complaints was generally more severe abuse and neglect."
Porter stated that in addition to the commissioners' office, several area businesses and organizations have committed to promoting Wear Blue to Work Day. Participating businesses and organizations that wear blue to work are encouraged to take photos of staff and mail or e-mail them to Porter.
"We would like to thank everyone who is helping us promote awareness for child abuse prevention," she said.
"Harrison County currently has 30 children in foster care up from 14 last year. These children have had to be removed from their homes due to a variety of abuse and neglect issues," said Porter. "We first look to place the children with family members or with persons with whom the children have an established 'kinship,' however that is not always possible.
"We have a critical shortage of local homes to provide love, support and guidance to an increasing number of children in our community who need help," said Porter. "Because of the shortage, many abused and neglected children in Harrison County must be sent to homes in neighboring counties, taking them further away from their friends and families. This makes a difficult situation even harder for these children," she said.
Porter stated that a new training class for families or individuals interested in becoming foster parents will begin April 19. These classes provide 36 hours of training.
"We welcome single people and couples in the county to consider becoming a foster care provider or an adoptive parent. The kids need you," she said.
In other business, the commissioners:
Appropriated $5,000 into the veterans assistance account from the annual donation funds the county is given by Waste Management. The money will be used toward the van recently purchased to transport veterans.
"We have used this money over the past three years to help fund area projects throughout the county," said Commissioner Barbara Pincola. "In the past we have funded wiring improvements in the Harrisville village building, helped fund the flooring project in Freeport and the bike path in Scio. We try and spread it around the county."