Hancock County’s Center for Safe and Healthy Children

How can Oilers get involved with National Child Abuse Awareness month?

By Alexis Mitchell

Even though Findlay, Ohio is not a big city, there are still a lot of resources that people are not aware of or don’t think about.

One of these resources is the Center for Safe and Healthy Children, a non-profit organization that deals with families and children who are going through a child abuse investigative process, and helps them through it in the least stressful way possible.

Tom Blunk, director of the Center for Safe and Healthy Children, explains how the old system of interviewing a child affected by abuse only made the situation worse.

“Studies have shown that every time that victim has to talk about what happened, more trauma is experienced by the victim,” said Blunk.

Instead of the child going through multiple interviews with multiple organizations, using the CAC model, Blunk says that they bring all of those agencies together and work each case as a team.

This organization’s resources include a free monthly medical clinic ran by a board-certified physician, a trauma trained therapist, and legal assistance for families (being an advocate for them in court). They stay with the family through the entire process.

With National Child Abuse Awareness month being in April, this organization is especially significant now.

Blunk knows that child abuse is not something people enjoy talking about, but says that it is important that we do so that as a community we can keep the kids safe.

“I read a study recently that estimated that on any day, approximately 50,000 predators are online, surfing social media sites or in gaming rooms looking to connect with children. As a community we have to know what the threats are so that we can better protect our children,” said Blunk.

For National Child Abuse Awareness Month, this organization is taking a part with a ceremony on April 13 at the Marathon Center for Performing Arts as a kick-off to Child Abuse Prevention month. They will be creating a display of balloons at the courthouse which will represent the number of kids abused in Hancock County during the past year.

April is not the only month to get involved, though. The Center for Safe and Healthy Children is always supporting victims of abuse by throwing fundraisers.

“As a nonprofit agency fundraising is extremely important for us to be able to remain open. We do receive funding from the United Way and other local organizations as well as state grants,” said Blunk.

One fundraiser in particular, as shown on the organizations website, is a dodgeball tournament, which they are looking for people to put together a team to participate. They are also holding an annual purse bingo event as well as a Winter Jazz event downtown. The Center is always looking for unique fundraising ideas.

Blunk deals with many families and children on a daily basis, but there are some who prove how important the organization really is.

Blunk reflects back to a story about a little boy who went through the center before because his home wasn’t a safe place to be.

“He told me he came here because he felt safe and knew we would help him,” said Blunk, “This boy could have went anywhere and maybe found himself in a dangerous situation but he came here because he felt safe here and we could help him.”

If you’re interested in getting involved with the Center for Safe and Healthy Children, consider getting a dodgeball team together for the upcoming tournament. Blunk said that the center is currently working on a policy for volunteers. For more information, email Blunk at tblunk@hancocksafechildren.com.

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