Child Safety Fair April 26 focuses on children and family support

April 22, 2013

GARFIELD COUNTY, CO – Skipping rocks, playing baseball, and building forts are the simple things of childhood. Celebrating youngsters and childhoods the way they are supposed to be, carefree and happy, is the purpose of a community event Friday at the Garfield County Health and Human Services Building in Rifle. The 5th Annual Child Safety Fair Friday, April 26, 2013, from 1-6 p.m., will include: food, entertainment, prizes, giveaways, safety information and resources for citizens in Garfield County.

“While this event helps us to give families information on safety and community resources, it is also a special time for those of us who work helping children all year,” said Rachele Mettauer, Department of Human Services (DHS) foster care coordinator. “We see kids who have troubled lives, and we put our hearts into making their lives better. This is where we visit with families and enjoy impacting their lives in a happy setting.”

Mettauer works with a staff of 90 other people in Garfield County’s second largest department. The Garfield County Department of Human Services works closely with schools, law enforcement, doctors and hospitals, and other community programs, to help families who are in need of extra support.

In 2012, DHS received 899 reports of concern about children and youth in Garfield County. A report can be made to a county for several reasons including possible abuse or neglect, a child beyond the control of parents, or an adopted child needing services. Of the 899 reports made, 433 were concerning enough for DHS to open an assessment to determine if a family was in need of support or, if the report was serious, if abuse or neglect had occurred. Caseworkers are responsible for ensuring that children are safe and for helping families to find the supports they need to
parent successfully.

DHS is not the only agency presenting information to parents at the Child Safety Fair. More than 30 agencies participate to present information and resources. A full list of all participating organizations is available online. DHS also is planting glittery Pinwheels for Prevention
at the Child Safety Fair. Blue pinwheels are the national symbol of child abuse prevention. This year, the safety fair will feature a garden of 433 pinwheels, which represents the number of families DHS worked with in 2012. The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office is also planting pinwheels in an event April 30 at 6 p.m. at the Garfield County Sheriff’s Annex in Rifle.

It is only through the collaboration of DHS in partnership with law enforcement, the judicial system, community providers, and families in the community that Garfield County can continue to show positive outcomes for children, youth, and families in Garfield County.

For more information, please contact Rachele Mettauer at (970) 309-0816.