Newberry Observer

Preventing child abuse

NEWBERRY — April is Child Abuse Prevention month and the Newberry County Department of Social Services is always working towards prevention by educating the community with the hopes to put an end to abuse and neglect.

“One of the goals I’ve had this year is to work towards prevention and one of the ways we can do that is by educating the public,” said Ken McBride, Newberry County DSS Director.

McBride added that each abuse/neglect case varies, sometimes responding to six reports a day. He said that as of Sunday April 8, there were 37 open investigations and they are currently working with 67 families in in-home services.

“We try to keep kids with family members as much as possible, some instances they do have to come into care to ensure their safety and make sure they are protected. For the most part, we try to work with their families,” McBride said. “We could go out and it could be physical abuse by the mother/father in the home. If the father is willing to leave we can work on him outside the home, work on anger issues and the children could stay at home with the mother if the mother can protect.”

He said every situation has to be looked at individually as far as children being taken into care, paying close attention to the safety of the child.

“We work closely with law enforcement and if people don’t want to call the police they can call us. The main thing is that one of us gets called to assess the safety of a child, but if it’s going on right then at that moment the best thing to do is call the police because they can respond immediately,” McBride said.

According to McBride, most sexual abuse is not reported the first time, and physical abuse is not reported until a child becomes educated in school.

“For them, that’s what they are used to, it’s a way of life,” he said. “It’s important for people to know what kind of resources are out there for them and what can help them.”

Some of those resources include free parenting classes taught by Sam Etheredge along with anger management classes.

For more information on services DSS offers call 803-321-2155 or visit the office located at 2107 Wilson Road, Newberry.

By Kelly Duncan

Reach Kelly Duncan at 803-768-3123 ext. 1868 or on Twitter @TheNBOnews.