May 19, 2014

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – Those blue figurines of children you may have spotted in the Carterville area are symbolic pieces.

Michelle Bradley is director of Caritas Family Solutions in Carterville – an agency that attempts to meet the social and emotional needs of families. She said the silhouettes represent the tragedy that is child abuse and neglect.

“Some (children) may no longer be here physically, but shall remain a part of our lives forever,” Bradley said. “These figures symbolize a memorial to the children who have lost their innocence as a result of child abuse and neglect. In recent years, there has been progress made in the area of child abuse prevention, but we must continue to move forward with the message that child abuse and neglect cannot and will not be tolerated.”

Bradley said Southern Illinoisans have a responsibility in knowing how to recognize abuse and neglect and knowing the proper steps to take to make a report on what they have witnessed.

“We must address this issue and taken an active role in the prevention of abuse or neglect,” she said. “By working together, our community can help to ensure that some day there will be no more silent witnesses.”

Jo Poshard, co-founder of the Poshard Foundation for Abused Children on the John A. Logan College campus, said the blue figurines stand to remind people of the silent victims of child abuse in this region.

“Child abuse is a problem right here at home and is on the rise in our region, according to statistics released by the Department of Children and Family Services,” she said. “You may be the only lifeline to safety a child has. If you suspect child abuse or neglect, you should call the abuse hotline right away at 1-800-25-ABUSE. It is better to report and allow the authorities to determine whether there is abuse or neglect than ignore a situation and risk the life of an innocent child.”