Event to examine child abuse and neglect, remedies
by Mark Andrews
Aug 07, 2013 | 3178 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In an effort to inform the community on the reaching effects and nature of child abuse and neglect in Bartow County, as well as providing options on what the community can do to help remedy the problem, the Bartow County Collaborative on Friday, Aug. 16, will host an event that will feature guest speaker and child advocate Andy Barclay.

According to www.bartoncenter.net, along with his wife, Michelle, “The Barclays created the L.W. Barton Foundation Fund, a donor-directed fund at the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta, and worked with then-Senator Mary Margaret Oliver, Dean Woody Hunter, attorney Karen Worthington, and others to develop what is now the Barton Child Law and Policy Center at Emory Law School, named in honor of Andy’s maternal grandparents, Lewis and Sara Barton.”

Carolyn Johnson, who serves as the Bartow County Juvenile Court program director, said the inspiration for holding such an event in Bartow came from attending a System of Care meeting in Cherokee County, in which Barclay used geomapping to show the highest child abuse and neglect rates in Bartow and Cherokee based on geographic location in the individual counties.

“He looked at different areas where abuse was more prevalent ... and we were really impressed, even though we questioned some of the areas because we are familiar with them and we were wondering why the numbers in those areas were so significant, there may have been multiple referrals from one family, but even with that it was enough to spark our interest and we were curious to know exactly how those stats were just in Bartow County,” Johnson said. “Another piece of that was he had mentioned from doing things like this ... [in some Georgia counties], community partners and churches got together and they offered positive outreach opportunities and educational support and places for these kids to go.”

She continued, “We thought if we could get the faith-based community, [youth outreach like] Boys & Girls Club, someone from government, ... [people] from each area of Bartow County to attend this meeting, and if they can see where we’re having these problems and there may be a need to reach out to these children, to provide opportunities for these children, maybe it will reduce neglect and abuse. ... If we can get the community to come together, then maybe we won’t see so much abuse and neglect because those children will have some place to go, they will have a support system — someone to help them with their school work, keep them off the streets, keep students from becoming delinquents — whatever the results may be, we just want to promote some positive outcomes.”

Barclay said on The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta’s website, www.cfgreateratlanta.org, it’s important for the community to take a role in aiding in the needs of local children.

“Two-thirds of the children who suffer abuse and neglect do not come to the attention of our protection system. We’re a long way from protecting all of our children,” Barclay said. “The investment in children is one that pays over a lifetime for society but most importantly for the children in need of protection and rehabilitation. These children, who have seen the worst that life has to offer, deserve the best that we can provide.

Sponsored by the Bartow County Juvenile Court, the event will be held in the fellowship hall of Cartersville First Presbyterian Church beginning with coffee at 8:15 a.m. followed by the program from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Guests are encouraged to park at the Frank Moore Administration and Judicial Building behind the church on West Cherokee Avenue and enter through the back of the church. All are welcome to attend.