Thursday, March 21, 2013

Students learn about child sex-abuse!

Beckley-Stratton Middle School’s after-school program invited Just For Kids executive director Scott Miller to teach them more about child abuse, a topic they have already been learning and creating a video about.

While there, the students donated fleece blankets they made to Miller for Just For Kids to help comfort kids interviewed at the Child Advocacy Center.

Miller, who is also on the advisory council for the after-school program, told the students only one in 10 children feels safe enough to tell his or her story and last year in Raleigh, Fayette and Wyoming counties, Just For Kids interviewed 300 kids.

“My message for you is that if you hear about it or it is an experience that happened to you, tell someone about it. The only way you can get help is if an adult who cares about you knows about it,” he said.

A family member or teacher is the person children who have been abused most often confide in. But as of July 2012, any adult in West Virginia who is told about child sexual abuse is, by law, considered a mandated reporter, he said.

The students asked how to tell if someone is being abused.

Miller said that it is adults’ responsibility to make the call if someone truly is abused and report it to the police, but students can also be aware of the signs, for example, if someone has an unexplained injury or has a sudden change in personality or appetite.

The students asked how Just For Kids helps child victims.

Miller explained that before Just For Kids came to the area a little more than a decade ago, victims had to tell their story and be interviewed 10 or 12 times by different people. Having to share those details only once makes it a lot easier for kids, he said.

He also said Just For Kids works to raise awareness and get people thinking about child abuse.

“Many adults don’t realize what a big issue it is and how many children are abused,” he said.

The students asked who is most likely an abuser and how the abuse starts.

Miller told them 80 percent to 90 percent of abusers are “people the children know, love and respect.”

He talked about the grooming process perpetrators go through to build trust in the victim and make it harder for the victim to come forward.

Ultimately, he tried to empower the students to speak up for themselves and others.

“People should not be touching your body in ways you know is not right. It is a challenge when it is someone you love and trust, but you need to be able to say no. You should not be asked to keep secrets about your body,” he said.

The Beckley-Stratton Middle School after-school program is a 21st Century Community Learning Center and is funded by the West Virginia Department of Education through RESA 1.

The program site coordinator is Beckley-Stratton teacher Vickie Webb.

— E-mail: splummer@register-herald.com

1 comment:

Supersol and Bnos Bais Yaakov said...


March 18, 2013

One of New York City’s largest providers of special education services to preschoolers with disabilities illegally diverted millions in taxpayer financing to a girls’ religious school, summer camps and a kosher supermarket owned by the group’s officers and board members, state auditors said on Monday.

The auditors were unable to confirm that any of the hundreds of children who were supposed to get one-on-one instruction from the agency, Island Child Development Center, ever actually did, said the office of the state comptroller, Thomas P. DiNapoli.

After subpoenaing more than 13,000 checks from the agency’s bank, auditors said they gave up counting after the first 1,549 checks they reviewed turned up $5.8 million in what they said was fraudulent spending over a six-year period when Island Child billed the state and the city more than $27 million.

Mr. DiNapoli’s office called it the largest misappropriation unearthed yet in its inquiry into New York State’s $2 billion special education prekindergarten program. Spending on the program has jumped in recent years, and regulation has not kept pace.

Several proposals for enhanced oversight have been debated as part of the state budget process, though prospects for their approval are not clear.

“To take advantage of taxpayer dollars designated for special-needs children and instead use these moneys for personal gain is reprehensible,” Mr. DiNapoli said in a statement. “New Yorkers deserve greater oversight of these programs.”

As of last April, Island Child was billing taxpayers for providing one-on-one teachers to nearly 200 disabled children ages 3 to 5, records show.

Yet Island Child, in Far Rockaway, Queens, paid nearly $2 million to Bnos Bais Yaakov, a nearby school for Orthodox Jewish girls, of which the auditors said Rabbi Samuel Hiller, the assistant executive director of Island Child, is both dean and an owner. Another $877,000 went to various Jewish summer camps, two of them tied to Mr. Hiller, and more than $330,000 in nonpayroll checks went to Mr. Hiller himself, the auditors said.

Mr. DiNapoli’s office referred its audit to the Queens district attorney’s office, which said it was reviewing the findings.

Mr. Hiller declined to comment. His lawyer, Marc Agnifilo, did not address the details of the audit, but said he intended to work with Queens prosecutors to resolve the investigation.

Auditors said Island Child also bought $344,000 in food, including $73,000 from Super Sol, a kosher supermarket whose founder, Laurence Garber, led Island Child’s board. The special education prekindergarten program prohibits purchases of food.

Auditors cited what they said were many other improper or fraudulent expenses, including $200,000 in construction, $12,000 to two jewelers, $235,000 to credit-card companies, $44,000 to “cash,” and nearly $200,000 to five fictitious workers.