Our view: Bring abuse from darkness into the light

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Child abuse is an awful reality too many innocents have been forced to deal with. That is why it’s good to know our local Twin Cedars has set bold goals in its effort to educate the community.

With the Darkness to Light program, which helps teach adults how to recognize the signs of child abuse and report it, Twin Cedars staff trained a staggering 610 local people in only two months. That’s more than any other participating organization in the state during that time frame.

Executive Director Mike Angstadt trained 160 himself, and estimates he has taught 300 to 400 overall. He and Kim Adams, director of the Children’s Advocacy Center at the local Twin Cedars, were in the top three in the state for number of people trained. She taught 125 people during April and May.

Since Twin Cedars started utilizing the program in December 2013, the group has trained a total 2,359 people, nearly the 5 percent of the Troup County population that is their goal by Jan. 1, 2017.

Angstadt told the Daily News on Tuesday that there are still more people waiting for the training and other groups have taken up the cause. They are also set to finish their instruction at all Troup County schools with appointments in August at Hogansville Elementary and Callaway High. Point University officials also have shown interest in embedding the program into its curriculum and some physicians at Emory at LaGrange have also shown interest, Angstadt said.

LaGrange College and West Georgia Technical College incorporated the training into their nursing curriculum. The school system made the training mandatory for all new hires.

At this rate, the group is sure to meet — and exceed — its 5 percent goal. Their larger target is 10 percent of the population, about 7,000 people.

With one in 10 children statistically being victims of abuse, people should take advantage of this training. That statistic should be zero, and though it’s unlikely we’ll eliminate child abuse in our lifetimes, we should all do what we can to prevent it and make sure the people who abuse children answer for their crimes.

Anyone who is interested in taking the Darkness to Light training can contact Mckenzie Jackson at 706-298-5050 or at mjackson@twincedars.org.

Darkness to Light also has a helpline, which can be reached at 1-866-FORLIGHT (1-866-367-5444), to help direct people who suspect abuse to the necessary resources.

If you believe a child is being abused, call your local law enforcement agency or the state Child Protective Services Intake Center at 1-855-422-4453.