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Home / flag-raising ceremony

Ceremony highlights Riverside County’s fight against child abuse

To further educate the public on how to identify signs of abuse and neglect, the Riverside County Family Service Association and the HOPE Collaborative hosted the second annual Child Abuse Prevention flag-raising ceremony Wednesday.

The event also was intended to honor children impacted by violence, abuse and neglect while highlighting collaborative efforts by community members and government officials to protect the children.

“The Riverside County Board of Supervisors remains committed to safeguarding our most vulnerable children,” 2nd District Supervisor Karen Spiegel said in a statement. “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.”

Supervisor Karen Spiegel speaks at this year’s Child Abuse Prevention flag ceremony. | Photo courtesy of Riverside County

The flag-raising ceremony spotlighted two county agencies that provide services crucial to investigating child abuse.

The Child Assessment Team, or RCAT, is a group of medical professionals who do comprehensive medical evaluations when law enforcement authorities suspect abuse and neglect. 

The Sexual Assault and Forensic Evaluation Team, or SAFE, does 24/7 forensic examinations and evidence collection for sexual assault victims and aim to guarantee children get necessary medical attention in a timely manner and also the forensic support required to prosecute sex offenders. 

“These specialized units play a vital role in ensuring the well-being of children who have experienced abuse or trauma,” according to the county.

Protecting children from abuse is a collective effort involving the Riverside County Family Service Association, or FSA, which serves as the area’s designated Child Abuse Prevention Council known as the HOPE Collaborative. 

“FSA strives to prevent child abuse, help families thrive, and build stronger communities,” FSA Community Services Director Stephanie Soto said in a statement. “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.”

Every month the HOPE Collaborative organizes meetings in each county supervisor’s district and mingles with local professionals and residents. 

“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,” according to the county.

For more information on child abuse prevention, contact the HOPE Collaborative at 951-369-8036 or visit the organization’s website, www.hopecollaborative.org.

Officials urged anyone who has reason to believe that a child is experiencing abuse or neglect to report it immediately to law enforcement or to the local child welfare agency. 

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