(Posted April 6, 2022)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
This year’s Child Abuse Prevention Carnival promises to be bigger and better than ever with the addition of big-ticket door prizes for children and a job fair for adults.
The event, hosted by Madison County Protective Services, is set for 5-8 p.m. April 29 at the Madison County Fairgrounds, 205 Elm St., London. Family-friendly activities will take place inside the Coughlin Community Center and EBY Youth Arena. The job fair will take place in an enclosed tent outside those facilities.
This year marks the eighth year Protective Services has put on the carnival. The event did not take place in 2020 or 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers are excited for the event’s return and are hoping for a big turnout.
“We expect over 500 people this year,” said Julie Harris, Protective Services administrator.
The carnival will feature a photo booth, balloon animals, children’s games, face painting, and door prizes. The event has always included bicycles as door prizes. This year, thanks to generous donations, four 12-volt cars, an iPad, and a children’s kitchen set are among the prizes, too. Everyone is invited to enjoy hot dogs, chips, drinks, popcorn and snow cones. Everything is free.
Several service providers will be on hand to share information about resources for general health, mental health, safety, rehabilitation, early education, and more.
While the carnival is going on, parents can find out about local employment opportunities in the job fair tent.
The following companies will be on site: BST, CJ Logistics, EBY, Focus Workforce Management, Honeywell, London City Schools, London Correctional Institution, Medline, Remedy Intelligent Staffing, SURGE Staffing, and Torrid.
“It’s an opportunity for anybody searching for better employment, additional employment or primary employment,” said Robin Bruno, director of the Madison County Department of Job & Family Services.
About Protective Services
On April 5, the Madison County commissioners signed a proclamation declaring April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. The proclamation read, in part: “Child abuse and neglect can be reduced by making sure each family has the support they need in raising their children in a safe, nurturing environment.”
Partnerships among social service agencies, schools, faith communities, civic organizations, law enforcement agencies and the business community contribute to the success of child abuse prevention programs. One of the driving forces in this network is Madison County Protective Services.
In 2021, the agency screened and investigated 313 cases of abuse and neglect. Of those cases, 100 were classified as neglect, 141 as physical abuse, 55 as sexual abuse, and 17 as families in need of services.
The agency is one of the best-performing protective services departments in the state when it comes to completing intakes in a timely manner and meeting with families each month. The state average for timeliness on intakes is 76 percent. Madison County achieved 94.9 percent in 2021. So far this year, Madison County is at 99.3 percent compliance and ranks second in the state in this category.
As for statistics in the family meetings category, the state average is 82 percent. Madison County has achieved 100 percent compliance each year since 2017. The county ranks first in the state in this category and is the only county that has maintained 100 percent over time.
The state issues additional funding to counties that meet 95 percent compliance in these performance categories. The money goes toward services for families.
Harris praised the Madison County Protective Services staff for the work they do.
“We really do have an amazing team. It’s not an easy job,” she said. “Every one of them, even after a hard day, comes back the next day ready to go out on the next case and do what’s needed.”