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Community leaders meet to discuss child abuse prevention

Several community leaders from southeastern Idaho met at Chubbuck City Hall Monday to discuss a topic that impacts all of them: child abuse prevention and a new campaign that involves your thumb.

“Well, the biggest thing I’m hoping is awareness,” Idaho Children’s Trust Fund’s Brenda Stanley explained.

“We are doing what’s called thumbs up for Idaho’s children and we’re hoping that people will paint their thumbnail blue because we want people to ask questions,” she explained. “Why is your thumbnail blue? And that will start a conversation that we will hopefully get people to talk about child abuse prevention.”

Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad, Chubbuck Mayor Kevin England and Blackfoot Mayor Marc Carroll, stood alongside ISU President Kevin Satterlee addressing this issue.

Stanley said that it’s these conversations that will help put people in positions to help.

“You see it in the news. You see tragic and terrible situations in the news,” she said. “We don’t want to be reactive, we want to be proactive. It’s about prevention. That’s our mission we want to prevent this before it happens.”

The numbers are out there and they aren’t pretty, but Stanley said it’s more than just about spouting off the statistics.

“We can spiel off statistics about how prevalent it is and how terrible it is, we know it is. we see it. we want to prevent it.”

That’s where Shannon Fox steps in. Fox works to help train people on prevention techniques and how to identify children who are being abused. She says one of the biggest things you can do is just talk about it.

“This has to be something that’s a new norm for our communities, just having some honest and real discussions about safety for our children and for peoples children that aren’t ours,” Fox said. “I mean it’s everybody that has to come together for these things.”

Fox believes most people don’t even know what to look for. After training more than 4,200 people in the region, she said people are often surprised because no one ever told them to look for it.

“So we do have a need for this information because we’re kind of just learning it as we go or as things come up and that’s reactive. We want to be proactive and have these tools before we’re seeing the problem start.”

The month of April is child abuse prevention month, and Fox said it’s their goal to get everybody to come together to help prevent acts of child abuse. And it couldn’t hurt to start a conversation with something as simple as your thumb.

There are a number of upcoming events to support child abuse prevention such as wear blue day on April 5, as well as ISU’s prevention week from April 5-April 12.

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