Child Abuse Prevention

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Cascade County is identified as one of the top 6 “high risk” counties in Montana for child abuse and neglect. There are several ways to show your support for Child Abuse Prevention this month.

March 31st: 10am Pinwheels planted at City County Health Department

April 1st: 9 am Cascade County Courthouse- Pinwheels for Prevention of Child Abuse

The Blue Pinwheel is a nationally recognized symbol that represents childlike notions, and stands for the chance at the healthy, happy and full lives all children deserve. 1,000 Blue pinwheels will be planted.

April 11th– 17th No More Violence Week

 GoBlue flyer (2)                                                                                                                            


April 11th: 9am Great Falls College MSU- Pin Wheel Planting on campus lawn

April 12th: 12- 1:30pm Benefis Healthcare- Sexual Assault and Domestic Abuse: Our Response

This education targets healthcare providers, law enforcement, and emergency medical personnel who may provide the first responses to a victim of abuse   requiring a forensic exam.

7-9pm Great Falls College MSU, Heritage Hall- Everyone has a story

Video interview with Jon Krakauer, author of “Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town“. Presentation/discussion following the  video by Hillary McCrumb, a sexual assault victim in Mr. Krakauer’s book.



April 13th:

          12:00 1:00 pm What YOU Can Do to Stop Child Abuse

Informational round robin on opportunities to help break the abuse cycle as well as community resources available for victims: CASA CAN, Dandelion    Foundation, Toby’s House, Victim Witness, Child Advocate Center, and others with time for personal interaction/Q&A with representatives from community organizations involved in child abuse. Lunch provided by GFC Student Government. Heritage Hall

         7:00 9:00 pm Lessons from the NFL: How to Make Communities Safer

Rita Smith, NFL Senior advisor and former executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Rita Smith has been working at the local, state and national level for over 30 years to end domestic violence and sexual assault. She will be sharing with attendees the process of how she was asked to advise the NFL, what has been accomplished so far, what they working on for the upcoming season, and how those efforts can be translated to local campuses and communities to reduce violence everywhere. There will also be time for questions from the audience. Heritage Hall.

 April 14th

12:00 – 1:30 pm Victims of Domestic Violence: There is HOPE and We Can HELP!

Informational round robin from community organizations on emotional support, legal assistance, and other important resources for abuse victims. Topics will include the warning signs of an abusive relationship; mental health, suicide prevention and substance abuse; child custody and other legal issues. Speakers: Voices of Hope, YWCA, and others TBA. Lunch provided by GFC Student Government. Heritage Hall

6:30 – 8:30 pm The Wounded Helpers: Recognizing and Coping with PTSD and Vicarious Traumatization

         Dr. Chris Southall, Clinical Psychologist. This presentation is designed for anyone who is at risk or suffers from vicarious trauma, including Law Enforcement, Fire, EMS, Health Care Providers, Military, Ministry, Social Workers, Psychotherapists, and Victim Advocates. Dr.Southall will present an engaging and interactive session on recognizing and coping with the effects of vicarious trauma, including PTSD, and its impact on one’s personal and professional life. Heritage Hall. CE credits pending.

Winners of the Great Falls College Graphic Arts Design Child Abuse Prevention Poster Contest announced.

         Raffle Winner of the Crown Butte Photograph donated by Stonefly Photos Announced.

April 16th Human Trafficking: Prevention, Hope and Real Change

9:00 – 10:00 am – Sex Trafficking in Rural America? How to Stand Up and Make a Difference. Presented by Windie Lazenko, Founder of 4her North Dakota. Windie is an honored member of the National Survivor Network and an expert on Commercial Sexual Exploitation. Her Bio: Windie was sold to a sex trafficking ring at the age of 13. She was victimized for the next 16 years. Windie eventually escaped and now works as a victim advocate. She is the founder and Executive Director of 4her North Dakota. Located primarily in the Bakken Oil Field, 4her is the only direct service organization that provides care to victims of sex trafficking and sexual exploitation in North Dakota. Heritage Hall.

10:15 – 11:30 am – Natale` Adorni, Montana Law Enforcement Academy. This 60-minute presentation will focus on 1) the dynamics of human trafficking and 2) how human trafficking impacts law enforcement and community partners. There will be particular emphasis given to the legal aspect of human trafficking, including specifics on laws that are in effect in Montana and their implications. Data and trends will be discussed; education on definitions and code terms; training on identification of human trafficking; the role of media in human trafficking; and education with practice exercises to demonstrate effective techniques for interviewing victims. Heritage Hall.

11:30 – 1:00 pm Human Trafficking in Montana: Real Talk, Real Stories, Real Change: Panel Discussion This 90-minute panel presentation will include topics related to panel members’ work in prevention of human trafficking, as well as real-life experiences. Audience participation will be strongly encouraged with means for attendees to ask questions prior to and during the actual panel presentation. Panel members include the CARE Center, Rick and Pat Freeland-

Rescue and Safe House operators, Russ and Darci Darlington-Rescue and Safe House operators, Windie Lazenko, representatives from the County Attorney’s Office, and Natale` Adorni. Heritage Hall.

 April 17th

              Kolor Me 4 Kids Fun Run and Fundraiser (1 mile and 5K color run) Sponsored by Great Falls College, University of Great Falls, MSU-Northern, and the Dandelion Foundation. All proceeds go to the Dandelion Foundation for Child Abuse Prevention.

              Course Set Up 8:00 am – Great Falls College and University of Great Falls’ campuses.

              12:30 1:30 pm Registration at Great Falls College MSU South Court. Kids 10 and under free. Preregister at for a free event t-shirt and color packet.

1:30 pm Race – 5K will lead off, followed shortly thereafter by the 1 mile. Courses will include both Great Falls College and University of Great Falls’ campuses. Medals for top male and female finisher in each category.

April 30th: Community Rec Center Rummage sale- seeking item donations prior to event.


Child Abuse and Neglect Facts

Abused children often suffer physical injuries including cuts, bruises, burns, and broken bones. Physical injury is not the only negative impact of maltreatment—it can also affect broader health outcomes, mental health, social development, and risk-taking behavior into adolescence and adulthood.

Child maltreatment includes all types of abuse and neglect of a child under the age of 18 by a parent or caregiver that results in harm or potential harm. There are four common types of abuse.

  • Physical abuse is the use of physical force, such as hitting, kicking, shaking, burning, or other shows of force against a child.
  • Sexual abuse involves engaging a child in sexual acts. It includes behaviors such as fondling, penetration, and exposing a child to other sexual activities.
  • Emotional abuse refers to behaviors that harm a child’s self-worth or emotional well-being. Examples include name calling, shaming, rejection, withholding love, and threatening.
  • Neglect is the failure to meet a child’s basic physical and emotional needs. These needs include housing, food, clothing, education, and access to medical care.

Child abuse and neglect are sometimes referred to as child maltreatment by those working in the field. Child maltreatment causes stress that can disrupt early brain development, and serious chronic stress can harm the development of the nervous and immune systems. As a result, children who are abused or neglected are at higher risk for health problems as adults. These problems include alcoholism, depression, drug abuse, eating disorders, obesity, high-risk sexual behaviors, smoking, suicide, and certain chronic diseases.

Child Abuse and Neglect Are Preventable

CCHD works to stop child maltreatment, including abuse and neglect, before it occurs. In doing this, CCHD promotes the development of safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments between children and their parents or caregivers. Children’s experiences are defined through their environments (such as homes, schools, and neighborhoods) and relationships with parents, teachers, and other caregivers. Healthy relationships act as a buffer against adverse childhood experiences and are necessary to ensure the long-term physical and emotional well-being of children.

For more information about programs offered by the Cascade City County Health Department, visit:

Maternal & Child Health Programs