Metro-East News

Child abuse prevention highlighted in Madison County

Paper dolls cover the railings of the Madison County Administration Building, but they aren’t toys: each represents an abused child.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and throughout the month, the Child Advocacy Center has had a display in the administration building of paper dolls, each representing one of the 509 children interviewed in abuse cases in the past year.

Beside the paper dolls is a display of plain white T-shirts, each decorated by a child treated in the CAC and telling their story.

The Child Advocacy Center estimates that one in 25 children — or roughly one in each classroom — will be the victim of physical, emotional or sexual abuse, or will be a witness to violence against a family member.

Since its inception 2003, the CAC has interviewed more than 5,200 children. This year, a new program has launched to provide support services for caregivers of abused children. Cosponsored by the CAC, Madison County Health Board and Alternatives Counseling, organizers say a child better recovers from trauma when the caretakers are also receiving support. The program is free to all families in Madison County.

In addition to recognition of the CAC’s work, Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder announced that the Family Violence Prevention Council, of which she is chairwoman, will hod a series of trainings for volunteers to learn how to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. The first training will be at 6:30 p.m. at First Christian Church in Alton, and is free to the public. For more information, contact Tina Culp at

The display will be in the Madison County Administration Building through the end of April.