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Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Regina Brett says child abuse is “always the saddest story you’re going to write.”
Brett, author of The New York Times best‐seller “God Never Blinks: 50 Lessons for Life’s Little Detours” and the recent “Be the Miracle: 50 Lessons for Making the Impossible Possible,” will be the keynote speaker at the “Protecting PA Kids, Preventing Abuse” annual breakfast on April 3 at 8 a.m. at the Harrisburg Hilton.
The event is the kickoff for the observance of Child Abuse Prevention Month in Pennsylvania and is sponsored by the nonprofit Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance (PFSA).
Brett said one of the lessons in her recent book is to “get busy on the possible.” A problem like child abuse can look so big that people wonder how they can do anything to make a difference. “We stop it one child at a time, one house at a time,” she said.
In her years as a reporter, Brett wrote many stories about child abuse. “We have to do more to protect our children – and they are all our children,” she said.
Brett has written several columns about the child sex abuse allegations involving former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. “What broke my heart is that nobody ever reached out to that boy in the shower,” she said.
What allows child abuse to continue, she observed, is “the silence of those who can do something.” Those who witness or suspect child abuse shouldn’t be reticent about speaking up, she said. “Err on the side of helping the child. Err on the side of reporting. We all have the power to do something.”
A friend, a single mom, once confided to Brett that her boyfriend had punched her 10-year-old son in the face. Brett reported it and Children’s Services intervened. The boyfriend moved out. Brett said it was a difficult decision, but, “how could I not do anything?”
PFSA Executive Director Angela Liddle said, “Brett’s words about always choosing the side of helping the child get to the heart of what we preach in our training and in our programs. We look forward to hearing more of what she has to say on April 3.”
Tickets for the breakfast are available online at http://www.pa-fsa.org/ or by calling (717) 238‐0937.
PFSA is Pennsylvania’s leader in training mandated reporters to recognize and properly report suspected child abuse. Mandated reporters are professionals such as doctors, teachers, and police officers who come into frequent contact with children and are legally required to report suspected abuse.
PFSA also works with more than 50 affiliate agencies across the state to provide information, educational materials, and programs that teach and support good parenting practices. In addition, PFSA serves as thePennsylvania sponsor of The Front Porch Project, a community-based training initiative that educates the general public about how to protect children from abuse.
For more information, visit the PFSA website at www.pa-fsa.org.