Northwestern SWAT Participating in Child Abuse Prevention Initiatives Across Campuses

April 26, 2022

Child Abuse Prevention Alva 2022
Pictured are (left to right) Bailey Pelland, junior SWAT member; Elizabeth Dennett, senior SWAT member; Brianna Wisby, senior SWAT member; Bishop Buck, junior SWAT member; and Kori Salinas, senior SWAT member, with the blue ribbon tree at the Northwestern-Alva campus.
Child Abuse Prevention Woodward 2022
Pictured are (left to right) Jewel Shepherd, senior SWAT member; Katie Gardner, senior SWAT member; and Codi Harding, SWAT sponsor, with the blue ribbon tree at the Northwestern-Woodward campus.
Child Abuse Prevention Enid 2022
Pictured is Julie Mayer, senior SWAT vice president, with the blue ribbon tree at the Northwestern-Enid campus.

Northwestern Oklahoma State University Social Workers Association of Tomorrow (SWAT) members have taken part in Child Abuse Prevention Month initiatives including the “Wooden Children” project sponsored by the Garfield County Child Advocacy Center. They also have designed blue ribbon trees on the Northwestern campuses.

Blue Ribbon Trees are sponsored by The Child Abuse Prevention (CAP) Action Committee, led by the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

The blue ribbon is an international sign for child abuse prevention and is a constant reminder that all individuals have a duty to protect children. This is the 14th year in Oklahoma that communities have been encouraged to display a “Blue Ribbon Tree” during the month of April for Child Abuse Prevention Month. Blue ribbon trees are registered with the Oklahoma State Department of Health, and photos of the trees are displayed at the Annual Oklahoma Child Abuse and Neglect Conference, hosted by the Center on Child Abuse and Neglect.

“These activities prove we are making strides in the awareness of child abuse and neglect in Oklahoma by expanding our activities for Child Abuse Prevention Month to other campuses,” Codi Harding, SWAT sponsor and assistant professor of social work, said.

2022 Wooden Children Enid Courthouse Lawn
Each wooden figurine is approximately 2- to 3- feet high and were cut out by volunteers from Vance Air Force Base. Once the forms were cut out, the Junior Welfare League and other individuals painted on the faces and hair.The “Wooden Children” project is designed to bring awareness to the number of child abuse cases that are investigated each year. In 2021, 289 confirmed cases of child abuse were reported in Garfield County.

Organizations, businesses, groups and individuals were asked to “foster” a wooden child for $25. The group sponsoring the child dressed and displayed them where they chose throughout March. On April 1 the Wooden Children were taken to the courthouse lawn to be displayed through the month of April for Child Abuse Prevention Month.

SWAT Wooden Children 2022

“Child abuse can be difficult to discuss, but in the state of Oklahoma we are all mandated reporters,” Harding said. “We hope the wooden children display will bring awareness to the number of children who are affected by child abuse and will remind others it takes everyone to protect children.”

For more information about Northwestern’s social work department, visit https://www.nwosu.edu/school-of-arts-and-sciences/social-work or contact Harding at (580) 213-3148 or clharding@nwosu.edu.

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CONTACT FOR RELEASE:
Erin Davis, University Relations Specialist

eedavis@nwosu.edu, 580-327-8480



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