Northwestern SWAT Fosters ‘Wooden Children’ Prevention of Child Abuse

April 21, 2023

2023 wooden children project
The 249 wooden characters displayed on the northeast corner of the Garfield County Courthouse are being used to increase community awareness of children abused or neglected in Garfield County.

SWAT Wooden Child 2

Members of the Northwestern Oklahoma State University Social Workers Association of Tomorrow (SWAT) have taken part in the “Wooden Children” project sponsored by The Care Campus.

The “Wooden Children” project is designed to bring awareness to the number of child abuse cases that are investigated each year. In 2022, 249 confirmed cases of child abuse were reported in Garfield County, 50 fewer cases than were reported the previous year.

The Care Campus, previously known as The Garfield County Child Advocacy Council, has conducted the Wooden Children Program annually for more than a decade. Wooden children were also displayed in Blaine, Grant, Kingfisher and Woodward counties. About $12,000 to $13,000 is raised through the Wooden Child Project each year for The Care Campus.

“The Wooden Child Project’s significance is to shine a light on child abuse and neglect in local communities of the number of children who are abused and/or neglected in the county,” Dustin Albright, The Care Campus executive director, said. 

Each wooden figurine is approximately two to three feet high and was cut out by volunteers from the Garfield County community. Once the forms were cut out, volunteers painted on the faces and hair.


SWAT Wooden Child 1

Organizations, businesses, groups and individuals were asked to “foster” a wooden child for $35. The group sponsoring the child dressed and displayed them. On April 7 the Wooden Children were taken to the courthouse lawn to be displayed for all of April, which is National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

This project not only creates awareness about the number of children who are abused but also helps The Care Campus fund the services that are provided to the child and family. In Oklahoma “every person” has a statutory obligation to report a suspected abuse of a child. 

To volunteer with The Care Campus or become a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) call 580-242-1153.

“This project raises awareness that child abuse and neglect is happening in our communities,” Codi Harding, SWAT sponsor and assistant professor of social work, said. “SWAT hopes this project will remind the community we must all help protect children. We also hope this project serves as a reminder to citizens that we are all mandated reporters in the state of Oklahoma.”

To learn more about Northwestern’s Department of Social Work, contact Harding at (580) 213-3148 or


Erin Davis, University Relations Specialist, 680-327-8480

Northwestern Oklahoma State University

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Phone: (580) 327-1700

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