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Letter: A need to support child welfare

Published: Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

To the Editor:

Healthy Families Illinois (HFI), a program of Children’s Home + Aid, works toward preventing child abuse and neglect in DeKalb County by strengthening and stabilizing families, enhancing the quality of parent-child relationships, increasing access to community resources and improving all aspects of child health. 

While reflecting back on 2013, the word “community” comes to mind, defined as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests and goals. As it takes a village to raise a child, and even strengthen a family, there are several organizations and groups who provided critical funding and in-kind products to HFI, allowing us to support 50 DeKalb County families, including 90 children in 2013. The 3M Community Support Group chose Healthy Families Illinois to benefit from proceeds of their 20th annual Closest to the Pin contest in August. The HFI program awareness to 3M employees and financial support was a great boost as we began FY14.

In addition, we would like to thank DeKalb County Community Mental Health Board, DeKalb County Community Foundation, Ideal Industries, KishHealth Foundation, Kishwaukee United Way, Target Store and the Weingarz Family of Sycamore for their financial support; Sycamore Elks Lodge 1392 and members for conducting the 10th annual holiday Angel Tree for 90 children in the program; handmade items from Susan Cera, Merlin’s 100 Mile knit-a-thon, Shabbona Knitters Group; and in-kind support from Hy-Vee, Kishwaukee YMCA, Little Caesars Pizza, Ollie’s Frozen Custard and Papa John’s. 

At-risk families in DeKalb County are in need of support now more than ever before. Poverty, joblessness and other factors have dramatially impacted our population over the last several years causing increased stress on already financially strained households.

Unfortunately, these stressors have been shown to be linked to child maltreatment creating a greater need for programs supporting child welfare such as Healthy Families Illinois. As we leap into 2014, I’d like to once again thank the community, and especially those listed above, for your support of the Healthy Families Illinois program, allowing us to continue our important work to reduce child abuse and neglect in DeKalb County.

Please contact me at 815-899-0137 if you would like more information about how you can help to strengthen families in DeKalb County.

Kathy Hicks 

Children’s Home + Aid 

Healthy Families Illinois 

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