A crowd gathered Friday, April 26 at the Teen Center in Eureka for the annual Children’s Memorial Day flag-raising ceremony. Local participants joined countless others across the country in remembering children who have suffered from violence.
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Child Abuse Prevention Coordinating Council (CAPCC) participated in the ceremony along with other organizations that work to prevent abuse and neglect.
The Children’s Memorial Flag is a simple image - a red field with blue, paper-doll-like figures of children holding hands. In the center, a white chalk outline of a child symbolizes children lost to violence.
Speakers from DHHS and CAPCC talked about Children’s Memorial Day, the purpose of the flag and prevention activities.
"We’re proud of the work we’ve done in child abuse prevention," said Jeri Scardina, DHHS Children & Family Services deputy director. "We’ve built partnerships within our department and with other agencies to make our community safer for children and families. In the past few years, we’ve launched several innovative programs that have received positive response by participants."
For example, DHHS has been working with the eight federally recognized tribes in Humboldt County with the goal of reducing long-term foster care for Native American families. Partnerships have been strengthened so DHHS and tribal entities can work together earlier to pool their resources, engaging families and their support systems to enhance child safety and well-being. Until this year, confidentiality rules didn’t allow for this type of sharing.
"Families are able to get support in their own communities from people they know," Scardina said. "They are more comfortable and find it easier to be successful in reaching their goals."
Most recently, DHHS launched a program called SafeCare. It’s an evidence-based, parent-training program for parents who are at risk or have been reported for child maltreatment. Weekly home visits are set up with families for about five months. Parents may be taught how to respond to their children’s behaviors or how to plan safe activities with their children.
CAPCC has been working in the community for more than 20 years to support efforts related to child abuse prevention, intervention and treatment and to provide education and training related to those issues.
The flag-raising ceremony also included a poem and flute music followed by a moment of silence.
This memorial flag was flown at the annual Children’s Memorial day last Friday in Eureka.