Advocates starts new program
County officials to address violence-related childhood issues
July 28, 2007
Steamboat Springs — Diane Moore has spent years developing domestic violence advocacy and prevention programs for adults, and she’s always wanted to focus a similar amount of attention on children.
After receiving $14,000 in grant money from the Craig-Scheckman Family Foundation the past two years, she can.
Moore, executive director of Advocates Against Battering and Abuse, is introducing a new two-year, community-wide collaborative project called “Building Peaceful Communities: Children Exposed to Domestic Violence.”
A group of about 20 county officials, mental health providers, early childhood development specialists and educators met Thursday to begin addressing what Routt County can do to help children exposed to violence in their homes and prevent that violence from occurring. The meetings are scheduled to continue every couple of months, she said.
“Our meeting (Thursday) was encouraging because this is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” she said Friday.
The comprehensive program is designed to help families, educators and other community members learn how to identify children who are affected by violence in their lives and how to help them cope.
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Stephanie Howle, director of First Impressions of Routt County, said Advocates’ new program will allow other public and private county agencies to continue addressing issues together.
“Our goals are to help early childhood professionals grow and to equip them with the tools they need to address issues that might be going on at home,” she said. “This program allows us all to do that together.”
Moore said about 400 area children were exposed to domestic or other types of violence in 2006. Advocates began tracking the number of children exposed to violence about two years ago, she said.
“I think people in our community would be surprised how many of our children are exposed to violence,” she said.
Bringing together community members to talk about the issue was the first step in making a difference, she said.
“I wanted to hear the wisdom and experiences others have had in our community and how we might address this issue with a more collaborative view,” she said. “Until we really understand the issues, we won’t be able to make a change.”
Moore said she hopes to host a two-day conference on the issue next spring and provide additional education in the county’s schools.
“I think it’s great we’re focusing on our youth in this community,” Howle said. “It’s a wonderful place to raise a family, but at the same time parents work really hard to keep their families here, which can be a challenge.”
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