Abused children remembered
As ceremonies go, what took place in front of University Square in Bakersfield on the morning of April 30 was modest. There was one speech, a flag raising and a song. But then, remembering children who havedied due to child abuse is not the sort of event that makes people want to celebrate. Instead, Tom Corson took the occasion of the second annual National Children’s Memorial Flag Raising Ceremony to read the names of eight Kern County children who lost their lives to child abuse during 2009. Their ages were two, two, five, two months, two, six months, seven months and 11 months.
Kern County Network for Children (KCNC) and the county Department of Human Services collaborated on the event as the culmination of April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. Corson is KCNC’s director. His message was short but sobering. More than 100 children in Kern County are victims of child abuse and/or neglect each week. The flag, which was raised to memorialize Kern County’s loss of eight young children, had a red background with six children holding hands. Five children bore the color blue. The sixth child was merely an outline, depicting its loss.
Raising the flag was the student Color Guard from the Larry J. Rhoades Kern Crossroads Facility, an alternative school for at-risk children. Chipman Jr. High School student Mia Michelle Bell closed the event with an acappella singing of “Greatest Love of All.”
More information about child abuse in Kern County is contained in the KCNC “2010 Conditions of Children Report Card” which can be viewed online at http://www.kcnc.org.