RRH hosts forum on child abuse

RIDGECREST REGIONAL HOSPITAL — RRH recently held a community forum at the SpringHill Suites conference center to discuss the increase in reported child abuse — “a growing concern in the organization and the wider community that serious child abuse is on the rise in Ridgecrest,” said a spokesperson.

According to Tom Corson, executive director of the Kern County Network for Children, 45 children have died in Kern County since 2009 from causes related to abuse or neglect. “Now we are seeing similar reports in Ridgecrest,” said Celia Mills, administrator of care coordination and community health at RRH.

“Children under the age of 3 are the most vulnerable and it is imperative that we protect these and all the children in our community.”

Mills facilitated the forum, which was attended by representatives from the hospital, Ridgecrest Police Department, Sierra Sands Unified School District, Cerro Coso Community College, Child Protective Services and the All Faith Chapel.

“It was an opportunity to bring different community resources together to determine the problem and explore potential solutions,” said the spokesperson.

“This group of caring, dedicated people are searching for answers and solutions to a difficult situation in the valley — child abuse,” said Mayor Peggy Breeden. “There will be no easy answers found, but there will be none found unless we start here and now. They are doing just that!”

“I am very interested in working collaboratively with the stakeholders in our community to protect our children and provide support for good parenting,” said RRH CEO Jim Suver. “In cases of child abuse, it is often too late once the child comes to the emergency room department. We as a community cannot allow this upward trend to continue”.

Suspected child abuse or neglect should be reported via the Child Abuse Hotline for Ridgecrest on (760) 375-6049 (24 hours per day, 7 days per week). For all emergencies call 9-1-1.

Story First Published: 2018-09-14