Breckenridge Texan

Child Welfare Board decorates Stephens County Courthouse for Child Abuse Awareness Month

Child Welfare Board decorates Stephens County Courthouse for Child Abuse Awareness Month
April 02
17:09 2024

By Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

Last year, 125 children in Stephens County were abused, neglected or otherwise endangered and were put into foster care. Sometimes grandparents or other relatives were able to step in and serve as the foster family; in other cases, the children were placed with unrelated foster families.

In all cases, the eight local women who serve on the Stephens County Child Welfare Board were available to help out the children and those taking care of them. Currently, there are 19 Stephens County children, ages newborn to 14, in foster care.

At their March 25 meeting, the Stephens County Commissioners declared April as Child Abuse Awareness Month in Stephens County.

Carla Barnes and Jan Davis install solar lights in the Child Abuse Awareness Month display on the Stephens County Courthouse lawn. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

On Monday, April 1, members of the Child Welfare Board gathered under overcast skies to put up their Child Abuse Awareness Month’s annual display on the Stephens County Courthouse lawn. The decorations specifically honor those children in Texas who have died from abuse and neglect, as well as the children of Stephens County who have been or are currently in the foster care system.

The display includes an array of small crosses to represent the children who have died and a large angel to watch over them. The smaller angel, blue pinwheels, sunflowers and other flowers represent hope for the children who are experiencing the trauma of abuse and neglect. There is also a large cross, some red birds and blue ribbons at the courthouse, as well as throughout downtown. Blue was originally chosen as the color to represent Child Abuse Awareness Month as a representation of the bruises that are often left on children who are abused.

Additionally, the Child Welfare Board installed a large sign featuring some of the statistics related to child abuse in Stephens County and Texas. The display also includes solar lights, so that the decorations can be seen at night.

According to Sharon Wimberley with the Stephens County Child Welfare Board, in the past year, 125 Stephens County children have been confirmed to be the victims of abuse and/or neglect. Across the state, there have been more than 58,000 children abused in the last year. And, in Texas, there were 173 child deaths due to abuse or neglect last year.

When a local child enters into the foster care system, the members of the Child Welfare Board are available to help the foster family with unexpected costs. For example, they may pay for a doctor’s visit or baby formula, clothes or school supplies, food or whatever the family needs, Wimberley said. Additionally, they buy gifts for the children at Christmas and send them cards for other holidays, such as Valentine’s Day.

The money for the supplies comes from local donations and contributions from the United Fund. Wimberley said the board members send out cards asking for help each year but that often community members just give them money to help out. All of the donations are used to buy items for the children; the Child Welfare Board does not give money to foster parents.

This year’s Stephens County Child Welfare Board members are:

  • Sharon Wimberley
  • Linda Lippe
  • Jan Davis
  • Alva Carey
  • Carla Barnes
  • Linda Burdic
  • Stephanee Russell
  • Ruth Taylor

Anyone who would like to make a donation to the Child Welfare Board may send it to: Stephens County Child Welfare Board, P.O. Box 494, Breckenridge, Texas 76424.

Click here to see the Breckenridge Texan’s Photo Gallery from the Child Welfare Board’s decorating activity on Monday morning.

Members of the Stephens County Child Welfare Board, along with Tommy Ruiz, put up a Child Abuse Awareness Month display on the courthouse lawn Monday morning. Pictured from left are: Linda Lippe, Carla Barnes, Alva Carey, Linda Burdic, Sharon Wimberley, Tommy Ruiz and Jan Davis. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Cutline, top photo: Tommy Ruiz helps out the Stephens County Child Welfare Board with decorating the courthouse lawn on Monday morning in honor of Child Abuse Awareness Month. In the background, Sharon Wimberley and Jan Davis add decorations to an angel overlooking the display. Click here to see more photos from Monday morning’s activities. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)



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