/ Last Modified May 1, 2014

Child Welfare Awards Recognize Abuse Prevention

Local agency honors those whose work improves children's lives; honorees include founder of an agency helping children who have difficulty eating.

Child and Family Resources, a local agency, recognizes people who protect or support children to prevent abuse, especially in the face of declining state revenue for some support programs.

In the last five years, the state has stopped its child care subsidies, which helped low-income people pay for daycare services. That has caused some families problems, said Eric Schindler, president and CEO of Child and Family Resources, and is an example of why other organizations have stepped in to help such families.

"You're desperate to keep your job but you have no place to keep your children. We saw that children ended up in unsafe scary situations in some cases, and the rates of child neglect soared over the last five years," Schindler said.

Child and Family Resources gave awards to people who support children and work to prevent child abuse, including Marsha Dunn Klein. Dunn Klein is an occupational therapist and founder of Mealtime Connections. She works with children who have difficulty eating, but not in the vein of an eating disorder.

"If a child is born prematurely, they might have been born to early to know how to eat. If they have a heart problem, they may not have endurance to eat," she said.

Some of her patients have physical issues such as cleft palate that may make it painful or frustrating to try to eat.

Her work helps teach children and their parents how to overcome the issues, so the anxiety and frustration that surrounds the meal is reduced. That can reduce the incidence that the frustrations lead to child abuse, she said.

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