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Home / Family Service Association

Riverside County flag ceremony to highlight fight against child abuse

Riverside County, Family Service Association (FSA) and the HOPE Collaborative will kick-off Child Abuse Prevention Month on April 2 with a flag raising ceremony at 3:30 p.m. in memory of the young lives lost due to violence, abuse, and neglect.

The flag raising ceremony will be held at Riverside County Administrative Center, located at 4080 Lemon St. in Riverside. Featured speakers will include Second District Supervisor Karen Spiegel, Third District Supervisor Chuck Washington, Fifth District Supervisor Yxstian Gutierrez, District Attorney Mike Hestrin, Sheriff Chad Bianco, County Executive Officer Jeff Van Wagenen, Department of Public Social Services Director Charity Douglas, and Riverside University Health System’s Chief of Medical Services Dr. Sophia Grant.

This year’s event aims to further educate the community on recognizing the signs of abuse and neglect, while highlighting the collaborative efforts undertaken by various organizations to safeguard the well-being of children.

One in four children experience abuse or neglect in their lifetime. This abuse comes in many forms, including physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect. Early exposure to trauma can hinder development, which often leads to difficulties in learning, challenges forming healthy relationships, and poor coping abilities. The cycle of abuse can perpetuate through generations, emphasizing the crucial need for intervention and prevention efforts.

“The Riverside County Board of Supervisors remains committed to safeguarding our most vulnerable children,” said Supervisor Karen Spiegel. “We stand united to ensure a comprehensive system of care is available to support children who have been subjected to the trauma of abuse and neglect and to provide ample services that will empower them to heal. It remains our fundamental responsibility to protect those who cannot protect themselves.”

This year’s ceremony will also recognize services provided by the Riverside County Child Assessment Team (RCAT) and the Sexual Assault and Forensic Evaluation Team (SAFE). RCAT is composed of medical professionals who conduct comprehensive medical evaluations when abuse and neglect are suspected. SAFE provides 24/7 forensic examinations and evidence collection for victims of sexual assault. 

In Riverside County, FSA serves as the designated Child Abuse Prevention Council (CAPC) known as the HOPE Collaborative. Stephanie Soto, community services director, shared, “FSA strives to prevent child abuse, help families thrive, and build stronger communities. We partner with dozens of organizations to address the root causes of child maltreatment, such as poverty, lack of access to resources, and mental health issues. Through educational programs, awareness campaigns, and community outreach, we empower parents and caregivers with the knowledge and skills they need to raise healthy and happy children.”

The HOPE Collaborative convenes monthly meetings in each supervisorial district in Riverside County and engages professionals, parents and volunteers. Dozens of representatives from child welfare, schools, law enforcement, probation, medical centers, children’s advocates, and local faith-based agencies collaborate on the region’s safety and wellbeing. “We encourage people from all backgrounds to volunteer with the HOPE Collaborative and attend our upcoming Flag Raising event with the County of Riverside on April 2nd,” said Soto.

For more information or to attend the flag raising ceremony, contact the HOPE Collaborative by calling 951-369-8036 or by visiting its website at www.hopecollaborative.org.

If you have reason to believe that a child you know is experiencing abuse or neglect, report it immediately to law enforcement or to the local child welfare agency. Your voice may save a child’s life. For further resources visit www.hopecollaborative.org.

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