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hag. child abuse prevention month

April 08, 2002|BY DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

Braving a chilly, windy night, more than 100 people marked Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month with a flag-raising ceremony at Bester Elementary School and a walk to Hagerstown's City Park on Friday.

At the park, blue lights on decorative tree replicas were turned on. The lights will stay on for the rest of the month, said Melissa Cline, program manager for Child Protective Services at the Washington County Department of Social Services.

Cline said the event was intended to "let the public know about the problem of child abuse in the county."

From July 2000 to June 2001, the Department of Social Services investigated allegations of child abuse or neglect in about 2,000 families involving more than 3,700 children, Cline said.

As a result of those investigations, about 120 children were placed in foster care and the department provided services to hundreds of families, she said.

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Department Director David Engle encouraged people to report child abuse or neglect to the authorities.

"Protecting children is a community responsibility," Engle said.

Monic Messner, 9, of Hagerstown said the flag-raising and walk were good "because we learn about it and can tell people not to do it."

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