Las Vegas Sun

November 14, 2018

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Campaign to curb child abuse advises parents to choose caretakers wisely

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Jackie Valley

Amanda Haboush, senior research associate at UNLV’s Nevada Institute for Children’s Research and Policy, introduces the Choose Your Partner Carefully campaign outside the Grant Sawyer Building on Wednesday. Community leaders joined the announcement, which coincided with the start of Child Abuse Prevention Month.

New posters hanging near bus stops around the Las Vegas Valley bear a simple message for parents: Choose your partner carefully.

The signs are part of a campaign launched Wednesday to curb child abuse by encouraging parents to pick caretakers wisely.

Lisa Teele, supervisor of Metro Police’s abuse and neglect detail, said authorities had found that in more than half of substantiated child abuse cases, the perpetrator was a person caring for his or her partner’s children. Many cases involved a mother’s boyfriend, she said.

“It’s not surprising because ... we’re talking about individuals who are not bonded with the child,” Teele said.

The number of child abuse cases – many involving children younger than 5 – has stayed about the same, but the severity of those cases has increased, Teele said.

Authorities hope the Choose Your Partner Carefully campaign will prompt parents to spend more time deciding who cares for their children.

“Sometimes we speak to people who don’t even know their child caretaker’s last name,” Teele said.

The campaign is a community effort, with support from UNLV’s Nevada Institute for Children’s Research and Policy, Metro Police, Clark County Department of Family Services, Clark County District Attorney’s Office and Southern Nevada Children’s Assessment Center.

Posters will include the campaign’s message, as well as tips for parents about warning signs and other factors they should consider.

“We can help save lives if you pay attention to the signs,” Teele said.

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