Local News

Neighborhood Guardian Program Launched To Prevent Child Abuse

Posted July 13, 2001

— The state Department of Social Services says child abuse in Cumberland County is decreasing, but the numbers are still high. That is why the Chamber of Commerce launched the neighborhood guardian program earlier this year to prevent child abuse one community at a time.

Marcella Wilson has two children of her own, but according to the children living in her Boonie Doone neighborhood, she's a mother to many.

Wilson is a neighborhood guardian -- a person appointed to be on the lookout for child abuse in her community.

"I think a lot of times, people just need someone to let them know, 'Hey, just chill out for a little while, talk to me, maybe you need a break, let me watch your children for a while,'" she says.

"We want to get help for the families before they start taking their frustrations out on the children," says program manager Ida McDuffie.

The neighborhood guardian program will soon target several neighborhoods in the county with high rates of child abuse and neglect. Although the program has only been operating since March, Wilson is confident the county will see positive results soon.

"I'm hoping that by people communicating, talking and looking out for each other and their children, that it will take off," she says.

There will be a block party in the Boonie Doone neighborhood Saturday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. between Johnson Street and Old Shaw Road to kick off the neighborhood guardian program.

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