Sunday, April 06, 2008

The Canada Geese and I

were puzzled by all the sparkly, twirly blue things in the park near the Church at Mill Run this morning. The first thing I thought was, "I hope this organization has a clean up crew ready in case we get some bad Spring weather that scatters these." Fortunately, it turned out to be a sunny, and only slightly windy day for the pinwheel demonstration for Prevent Child Abuse Ohio (, 1-800 CHILDREN) in which one of the ministries of UALC, Speak Out, is participating.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and to draw attention to the problem, Speak Out is distributing blue and silver pinwheels with a prayer and Bible verse attached, as well as information about preventing child abuse. Their goal is for members to put the pinwheels in their yards to show we care and to use them as an opportunity to speak with others about preventing abuse.

I know nothing about child abuse--I wasn't abused, and I didn't abuse. When I was taking education and sociology courses in college it wasn't even on the radar. Supporting pro-life causes and speaking out about public libraries that don't prevent porn at their computers is about as far as I've stepped in. The Prevent Child Abuse Ohio website includes a newsletter which provides more detailed research and opinion if you wish to investigate so that's a place one could start.

Whenever I see our church cooperating with or assisting an organization (Prevent Child Abuse America operates in 41 states and UALC is listed as a resource at the local level for Ohio) funded and supported by government grants, corporate gifts, and fund raisers (pinwheels cost $1), I take a second look because this means I'm supporting it several ways, through my taxes and my tithe, the products I buy in corporate gifts, or directly with donations. So I want to know its mission and vision and whether it is Christ centered and based on Truth as found in God's Word. Hosting meetings, assisting in charter revisions, and organizing new chapters to study the reasons for child abuse (2006 annual report summary of PCA) may be important, but does it bring Jesus to the hurting parents and children?

So I looked at the national organization's web page, went to the 2006 annual report and immediately saw research (not sourced) that most abuse is by biological parents in married, two parent households. That seems to be in conflict with what I've read in other sources which do have citations. Where's the research that shows an overwhelming percentage of abuse is caused either by a step-parent (male or female) or a live-in "other?" This means there are disagreements in the studies, and therefore, the solutions. Also, percentages without numbers or years or even country, mean little. If I'm reading correctly, it looks like after 35 years, they've decided to set up some type of evaluation system of their methods with other prevention groups. I'd like to know: Does "community awareness," the education component of this program, really stop child abuse? The material seems to be pro-parenting skills, but I didn't see anything about marriage.

That's all the further I've gotten. But it seems that the definition of "child abuse," with which PCA began in 1972 has expanded to include child neglect, domestic violence, gang violence (related to absent father), access to pre-natal health care and immunizations, internet safety, gun safety, and bullying by other children.

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