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Rocklin moms lead state campaign to keep kids safe

By: Teresa O'Hanlon, Placer Herald Correspondent
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A campaign to arm Northern California families with the knowledge to recognize and prevent child neglect and abuse has roots in Rocklin. California National Child Abuse Prevention Month (NCAPM) Co-chair and Rocklin mother, Kathleen Moore, is launching a series of community events in April to kick off a year of activities aimed at safeguarding children. Moore is joining forces with Rocklin mom, Tamara Mickelson, a deputy sheriff with Sacramento County Crime Scene Investigation, who is putting on one of the special events called the Family Safety Symposium. The free safety fair on April 1 at Sacramento’s Garden Pavilion will feature fun and educational activities sponsored by a variety of vendors from law enforcement to Disney. “On the fun side, we will have a clown, face painters and Disney princesses signing autographs and much more including music, food and drinks,” said Mickelson. “The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department will be fingerprinting children. An agent from New York Life will be fingerprinting and processing IDs for children. The Law Enforcement Chaplaincy, Courage 2 Be You … as well as Fit for Defense will be demonstrating how to escape from the arms of a stranger or an abductor.” Moore and Mickelson hope to see Rocklin families and caregivers take advantage of the afternoon of free activities. Moore, a mother of 10, has four grown birth children and six adopted children through Child Protective Services. Mickelson has an adopted daughter from Kazakhstan. Both have worked tirelessly to educate the public about the underlying issues associated with child abuse. “There is often a picture painted of a monster and if someone isn’t a monster, they are not going to abuse or neglect their child,” Moore said. “Therefore, if you do not have a monster living in your home or next door or in your school teaching your child, it’s not anything you concern yourself with, when the truth of the matter is more than 75 percent of child abuse is due directly to substance abuse and once someone becomes addicted to drugs, addicted to alcohol, and that cycle of illness begins, the children fall to the wayside and they’re not cared for.” A communications executive, Moore offered pro bono public relations services to help with the Polly Klaas missing children’s case in 1993. The story made international news when the Petaluma 12-year old was abducted from her home during a slumber party and subsequently murdered. Almost 18 years later, Moore continues to work with Polly’s father, Marc Klaas, a national children’s advocate who will be in Sacramento on April 1 to generate awareness and resources. Mickelson, who holds a master’s degree in marriage, family and child counseling, is bringing in community educators who specialize in recognizing the signs of child abuse. “The first message is this: listen to your children and ask questions,” shared Mickelson. “Watch for behavioral changes. Children who are abused are often threatened into keeping the abuse silent. Children also tend to internalize abuse and may think they have done something wrong. The second message is this: start teaching your children about ‘stranger danger’ around age 4. By this age, many preschoolers have heard about strangers and you can start teaching yours how to stay safe.” The NCAPM kick off also includes a motorcycle run with Bikers Against Child Abuse April 2 with sign-ins beginning at 11 a.m. at Roller King in Roseville. For more information on events, contact Kathleen Moore at (916) 259-4396 or mommiexpress@gmail.com. --------------- National Child Abuse Prevention Month kick-off What: Free Family Safety Symposium When: From 2:30-4:40 p.m. Friday, April 1 Where: The Sacramento Garden Pavilion, 5640 Dudley Blvd., (Sacramento) in McClellan Why: Local law enforcement and community leaders will offer educational and fun activities aimed at safeguarding children. The safety fair will also feature food vendors and musical entertainment. Info: Call (916) 259-4396, e-mail mommiexpress@gmail.com or go to http://www.childwelfare.gov/preventing/preventionmonth/