Printed Letters, March 15, 2012

Thank you for the March 7 editorial highlighting the need for ongoing community vigilance to alleviate child abuse and neglect. Our community approach needs to be a thoughtful balance of helping families remain together and working through difficult issues, proven interventions, and yes, in some cases, removing children who can no longer be parented safely.

Research shows no matter the severity of the family dynamic or what interventions happen in a child’s life, when the plan for a child is not to return home, 70 percent of the time when these children are old enough to make the decision, they find their way back to their biological families.

In Mesa County, throughout Colorado and across the nation, child welfare professionals are changing their practice to increase earlier interventions through risk assessment and service delivery to safely keep families together. As a result, we are seeing a decrease in removals (out-of-home placements) and an increase in positive outcomes for child safety and families.

This is a significant practice shift, and for some this is a scary proposition. In the old child-welfare model, we would wait until the situation boiled over and met the legal definition of abuse or neglect (provable injury) before systems became involved.

Through increased community awareness, in 2011 the number of referrals for possible child abuse or neglect increased by 9 percent over 2010. That doesn’t automatically mean more child abuse and neglect. It means the community is more aware and making more referrals. Of those referrals, our assessment assignment increased by 26 percent over 2010. With the increased focus on in-home interventions and services, while the up-front work has increased, the need for foster care or out-of-home placement has decreased by 18 percent.

What does this all mean? It means increased awareness and more in-home services are creating positive outcomes for our community. We don’t have to remove as many children from their homes to achieve child safety. We all can be more vigilant and aware.

Offer a helping hand to a single mother struggling with her children. Help a friend or stranger. Get to know your neighbors. Some won’t welcome the help, but many will. Don’t be punitive or judgmental. Parenting isn’t easy.

We encourage everyone to contact the Child Protection Hotline at 242-1211 whenever child abuse or neglect is suspected. Our incredible team of dedicated professionals stands ready to help.

TRACEY GARCHAR

Executive Director

Mesa County Department

of Human Services

Grand Junction

Both sides in politics guilty of slinging mud

It appears that American politics, as usual, has sunk from mud slinging to manure slinging.

Recently, Rush Limbaugh used the words “slut” and “prostitute” to describe a woman. There was an immediate outcry from the left, demanding everything from an apology to having sponsors drop Rush like he was infected with Ebola. Every mainstream media outlet eviscerated him. He subsequently apologized, but that didn’t get much coverage from the media.

Bill Maher used the filthiest of filthy words to describe Sarah Palin, and crowed about not having to watch his language because he is on HBO — no sponsors to please. Where was the outrage there? Not a word from the left. No demands for apologies and barely a whisper from the mainstream media.

Be assured, if Rush had used the word Maher used, he wouldn’t have a show left. Maher then proceeded to strut around the stage bragging about the $1 million contribution he made to President Obama’s campaign.

It seems it might have been a smart move for Obama to decline the contribution and express his distaste for manure slinging, no matter which side of the fence it comes from. Like many good opportunities to make himself look like a real leader, he missed it.

My point here is, the manure slinging comes from both sides. Neither is better than the other when it comes to crawling around in the filth and saying anything to hit the shock button. America used to be better than this and we, the people, need to insist that our talking heads return to a higher standard.

KAREN GREEN

Grand Junction

 

Recognize the great work done by Sheriff’s Department

Does anyone ever acknowledge the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department for the great work it is doing?

On March 1, a tragedy occurred in our quiet park of Pioneer Village. Upon speedy arrival after being notified, a crew of professional officers and ambulance staff arrived. The crime scene was secured and sheriff’s officers began to scour the community for information.

Our residents were treated with respect and the utmost dignity was observed during the entire time the investigation was being carried out.

Within two days, the suspects were arrested and in jail, awaiting prosecution.

What a credit to our community. Ever wonder how your tax dollars are being spent? Thank our wonderful, professional Sheriff’s Department.

VIRGINIA MCGRIFFIN

Grand Junction



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