■ Radiothon to End Child Abuse marks 20th year
The 20th anniversary of the Radiothon to End Child Abuse is scheduled for Dec. 5-6.
For two decades, Crow Wing County has been coming together for 24 hours in December to raise funds to help prevent child abuse. The Radiothon is a joint effort of B.L. Broadcasting, Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota and local Child Protection Teams.
The Radiothon has two components: an online auction, plus a pledge line where individuals can call and pledge a cash donation. All pledge monies raised from the Radiothon are shared between the local Child Protection Teams (60 percent) and Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota (40 percent), with 100 percent of all money raised from the auction staying in Crow Wing County. Since its creation, the Radiothon has raised nearly $1.2 million.
The mission of Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota is to “empower individuals and communities to stop child abuse and neglect before it starts through education, advocacy, and family support.” Locally, the Crow Wing County Child Protection Team is the recipient of Radiothon funding. This team is a multi-disciplinary group comprised of 30 members each representing a different professional discipline. In addition to funding various community efforts which seek to prevent abuse, the local Child Protection Team also provides monthly case consultation services to professionals in the field.
With dollars raised, Crow Wing County provides financial support to Bridges of Hope for the Parent Support Outreach program, Crisis Nursery services, and financial crisis programming for families. The Child Protection Team has also funded respite services, healthy parenting education programs, training for community members and professionals, and the “Let’s Prevent Abuse” puppet program presented to all second grade students in the county.
In addition, Radiothon dollars support the ParentWorks program, an intensive group therapy program for children and parents in Crow Wing County that are involved in the child protection court system. The goal of the ParentWorks program is to facilitate the permanency of children in foster care in a timely manner, whether through reunification with their parents, or through permanent placement in an adoptive home.
Feedback from each funded program is provided to the Child Protection Team which allows for an evaluation of the program’s effectiveness. The Child Protection Team believes families who receive consistent community support early and often are much less likely to resort to abusive or neglectful parenting practices. Because ending child abuse and neglect is a complex challenge, the responsibility to keep children safe must involve the community as a whole, according to Kris Ott, child protection specialist with Crow Wing County Community Services and a member of the Child Protection Team.
“Over the years, hundreds of children and their families have been directly served by a variety of community programs supported by Radiothon dollars,” Ott said.
The Radiothon would not exist without the ongoing commitment of BL Broadcasting and financial support from families, individuals and businesses in Crow Wing County, Ott added.
“The community outpouring is an annual inspiration and testament to the truth that it takes all of us to support and strengthen families,” Ott said.
Additional information about the Radiothon can be found at www.brainerd.com/radiothon or on Facebook.com/ Radiothon to End Child Abuse — Brainerd region.