Children Paint To Raise Awareness Of The Pain Of Child Abuse

GROTON, CONNECTICUT  –  Nearly 50 children from Naval Submarine Base New London’s (SUBASE) Youth Center participated in the Child Abuse Awareness Month (CAAM) campaign, held at the base’s commissary, April 16.

The event, sponsored jointly by the base’s Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) Counseling and Advocacy Program and Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) Department, allowed children a unique opportunity to draw pictures on the commissary windows to show their support for non-violence in the home.

“It was an amazing show of support everyone gave on Thursday to make this year’s CAAM Commissary event such a huge success,” said Dennis Goguen, FFSC counseling and advocacy program supervisor. “To see the kids from the base’s Youth Center come out and display their creativity in window drawings and have so much fun raising awareness for child abuse prevention month was very special – and it’s very rewarding to have the kind of support we received from base leadership, MWR, and the Commissary to all come together and show how committed we are here at SUBASE towards such an important cause.”

Following the children showcasing their artistic abilities, they were encouraged to sign the proclamation promoting CAAM, alongside Capt. Carl Lahti, SUBASE Commanding Officer.

“Unfortunately, child abuse does exist in some places in the United States, and that’s a sad thing, but what we want you to know is that SUBASE does not support child abuse – we take action against it,” proclaimed Lahti. “We have counselors readily available to help adults and children. If you think there is a problem, you can talk to your parents or your trusted adult and get help.”

The Department of the Navy Child Abuse Prevention Month campaign is committed to increasing awareness. This year’s theme, “Know the Difference – Discipline is Not Abuse,” emphasizes that awareness.

According to the American Humane Association, “Discipline is how children learn right from wrong, acceptable from unacceptable. All discipline must be age-appropriate. Disciplinarians are responsible for motivating children to improve their behavior and teaching them how to make better choices. The ultimate goal for discipline must be to guide children on how to interact with others and help them so that they mature into emotionally healthy, dependable, empathic, and responsible adults.”

The best way to combat child abuse is to raise awareness, stated Goguen.

After all the hard work the children did to raise awareness for child abuse, they were treated to a cake in honor of CAAM and provided access to resources addressing child abuse.

Navy Team New London Sailors, families and civilians can take a pledge to end child abuse by clicking the following link: and completing a pledge form.

“I would like to thank our Fleet and Family and our Child and Youth programs for helping out and to thank you children for helping decorate the Commissary, we always appreciate that,” concluded Lahti. “Thanks for the tremendous support we get throughout the year, highlighting the services we have to prevent child abuse and taking pro-active action to ensure that doesn’t happen.”

Candlelight Vigil for Child Abuse Victims Thursday

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Candlelight Vigil for Child Abuse Victims Thursday

Cullman, Alabama  –  A candlelight vigil to remember children who have died from abuse and neglect as well of survivors of abuse will be held Thursday evening at Depot Park in Cullman.

The annual event was to be held last week but was postponed due to thunderstorms. Cullman Caring for Kids and Cullman County Department of Human Resources (DHR) is hosting the ceremony at 6:30 p.m. at the park fountain. If there’s rain, the event will be held under the nearby Festhalle Pavilion.

April is Child Abuse Awareness Month, and several events are planned, including the Safe Kids Expo 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 25 at Sportsman Lake Park and a free child identification program from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 29 and 30 at Cullman Caring for Kids’ office.

Spokane Father Raising Awareness

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James VanCuren, with pictures of his son Izayah

SPOKANE, WASHINGTON – It’s a pain that never goes away: losing a son or daughter to child abuse. According to, every ten seconds a child abuse report is made. Also, more than three million reports of child abuse are made in the United States every year.

It’s an issue that is all too familiar to James VanCuren. His son, Izayah Dennison, was about two months old when he was brought to the hospital in critical condition.

“December 26, 2008, I got a call about 9:30, 10 o’clock that my son was in the hospital,” aid VanCuren. “He was beat from head to toe.”

Izayah’s mother’s boyfriend at the time, Andrew Whitmire, told police Izayah stopped breathing and went limp after he shook him three times. Whitmire later pleaded guilty to second degree murder.

“The gentleman that did it told the cops he gave him something to cry about,” said VanCuren.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. VanCuren has been on a mission to raise awareness that child abuse is never OK.

“I just want to get out here and get everybody to know that I’m tired of seeing all these little kids die for no reason. None at all,” said VanCuren.

Daycare Owners, Employee Arrested In Abuse Case

NEW BRAUNFELS, TEXAS — Three people affiliated with the Brilliant Starts Learning Academy in New Braunfels, including its owners, were arrested this week in connection with the alleged physical abuse last year of children there.

Randel Lee Norman and Patricia M. Norman, proprietors of the business at 2101 FM 1101, are each charged with five misdemeanor counts of failing to report child abuse/neglect, and one felony charge each of failing to report child abuse/neglect with intent to conceal, court records show.

Former employee Constance J. Digiovanni, who police say admitted to injuring children with forceful handling, faces 20 counts of child endangerment and one count each of injury to a child and failing to report child abuse/neglect with intent to conceal, according to court records.

Attempts to reach Digiovanni, 41, of New Braunfels, were unsuccessful. Comal County Jail records show she was released Tuesday under $47,500 bail. The Normans, both 57, also were released Tuesday, each under $5,000 bail.

New Braunfels police led the investigation into the alleged physical abuse by Digiovanni of five children at the daycare in December.

Digiovanni was earlier charged with injury to a child by New Braunfels police after a video from the daycare showed her forcefully putting a 3-year-old boy onto a mat at naptime Dec. 16, a police spokesman said. She was initially arrested on Feb. 18 and freed on $25,000 bail on Feb. 19, jail records show.

Calls to the Normans seeking comment were answered by Scot Courtney, a San Marcos attorney, who said the couple cooperated with the investigation. They have not been told the specifics of the accusation against them and their first priority is to make sure the children at their day care are “safely provided for,” he said.

“I think once all the facts are revealed, they’ll be exonerated,” Courtney said.

A woman who dropped off her 18-month-old son Wednesday morning at Brilliant Starts, who didn’t want to give her name, said the charges hadn’t shaken her confidence in the day care.

“The Normans are the nicest people,” she said. “They keep us updated. We knew everything about (the charges.)” 

Child Abuse cases tied to drugs growing problem in Iowa

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Children are being exposed to candy laced with drugs

DES MOINES, Iowa —State officials said they’re seeing more child abuse cases where children are exposed to illegal drugs at an early age.

The problem has grown so much that Wednesday Gov. Terry Branstad proclaimed an awareness day to draw attention to the issue.

Just last week, a 1-year-old boy living in a Newton apartment tested positive for methamphetamine. The couple charged with caring for the baby were arrested and charged.

Also this month, Deshawn Trombone was arrested and charged in connection with the drug overdose that killed a 5-year-old girl in the Vine Street Lofts in downtown Des Moines.

Blank Children’s Hospital Child Protection Center deals with the young, innocent victims. They see new victims exposed to drugs every day.

Young children can grab and ingest the drugs or be exposed to the smoke or chemicals.

State official said they are seizing more candy that contains illegal drugs, especially after the legalization of marijuana around the country.

Last year, Iowa Drug Enforcement Task Forces referred 300-cases to the Department of Human Services. DHS reports 1,334 cases of drug related child abuse. The children were often neglected in deplorable living conditions.

Iowans are being urged to call authorities immediately if you suspect a child may be in danger due to drug use.