Nearly one year ago, North Haven resident Raymond Fowler wrote a letter to First Selectman Michael Freda to ask about ways the town could address the problem of child abuse by coordinating prevention and education efforts.
Discussions among town leaders have been held about what the town can do, and Fowler remains devoted to the idea. At this month's Board of Selectmen meeting, Fowler reiterated the importance of building a program around child abuse prevention and, with the selectmen's input, came closer to making such a program a reality.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and the goal is to use that month to promote and provide services related to child abuse prevention.
At the meeting, Fowler urged residents to help the cause.
"This is something we can really do something about," said Fowler. "We can do a lot in the form of prevention and cure."
Fowler added that education about the subject can help prevent abuse. He said letting children know they have the permission of society to report it is another way in which to break the cycle.
Fowler proposed programs at the elementary school, middle school, and high school levels. He also suggested PTA (Parent Teacher Association) involvement.
"It's possible for us to make significant cuts [in the problem]," said Fowler. "I'm asking you to join me."
Fowler encouraged residents to express their support for a child abuse prevention program by calling Freda, Superintendent of Schools Robert Cronin, and Eileen Pettit, assistant director of recreation.
After Fowler's presentation, Freda said that the selectmen will endorse a program and work with Harbor Health Services to see if the agency can lend services to the town's counselors.
"I think it's a great idea and a great initiative," said Third Selectman Alan Sturtz.
Information about a child protection hotline is available on the town website, which provides a 24-hour phone number (1-800-842-2288) through which residents can report child abuse or neglect.