by: PHOTO COURTESY: CHILDRENS CENTER - Children's Center Executive Director Barbara Peschiera presents state Rep. Brent Barton (D-Oregon City) with a blanket and a teddy bear that he plans to display in his Salem office.State Rep. Brent Barton (D-Oregon City) toured his hometown Children’s Center last week to recognize Child Abuse Prevention Month and join Executive Director Barbara Peschiera in making a call to action to all elected officials to increase support of child-abuse intervention centers across the state.

During the April 16 tour of the center at 1713 Penn Lane, nonprofit leaders presented Barton with a blanket and a teddy bear that he plans to display in his Salem office to bring attention to nearly 12,000 documented cases of child abuse in 2011.

The Children’s Center is Clackamas County’s sole agency providing medical assessments, forensic interviews and family support services to children who are suspected victims of child abuse and neglect.

“The sad reality is that thousands of children in Oregon live in unsafe homes. Child abuse and neglect are the greatest public health threats to our children,” Barton said. “With April being National Child Abuse Prevention Month, I applaud the hard work and dedication of Children’s Center. Children’s Center is a beacon of hope in the fight to increase awareness about child-abuse prevention in Clackamas County, and I look forward to working together to eliminate child abuse in our communities.”

Peschiera thanked Barton for being an advocate of children during his work as an attorney even prior to serving in the Legislature.

“We appreciate his understanding of child abuse and his understanding that community support is important,” she said.

Peschiera noted that the Children’s Center gets 20 percent of its funds from Child Abuse Multidisciplinary Intervention dollars, the primary source of state funding for a coordinated community response to child abuse, which has been cut from $11 million in 2007 to $9 million today.

“That funding is in play along with all resources right now as the Oregon Legislature sets next year’s budget, and we need it to do our important work,” she said.

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