On Tuesday, April 17, the annual Child Abuse Prevention Luncheon will be held at the Shawnee Exposition Center, beginning with lunch at 11:30 a.m. Each year the Pottawatomie and Lincoln County Child Welfare Collaborative and Support Task Force hosts this luncheon. In addition, each year two foster families are recognized during the luncheon with the “Judge Glenn Dale Carter Child Advocate of the Year Award” for both Pottawatomie and Lincoln Counties. Judge Tracy McDaniel, Pottawatomie and Lincoln County and Mr. Tommy Smith, Lincoln County, will each present the advocate awards. Graduating high school seniors, who are in foster care, will receive “Donald E. Wheeler Scholarship Awards” and certificates.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention month. Each year blue bows, ribbons and pinwheels are displayed at area public government and youth and family organizations and providers. Historically, each pinwheel displayed represents a child in state custody. It is a very tangible reminder that child abuse is real and each of us have a part to play in stopping abuse.

This year “A Day in the life of a Foster Child” will be the title of the luncheon presentation. Cheryl Travis-Ibrahim and staff from the Foster Care and Adoption Recruitment and Development office of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services will be presenting.

Last year this program was presented in a morning breakout session, and because it was so well received Ms. Ibrahim has been asked to present this program at the featured luncheon session. Anyone who has thought about being a foster or would like more information about being a foster is encouraged to attend.

The Pottawatomie County Child Welfare Collaborative, Lincoln County Partnership for Child Well-Being and Family Justice Center are making this year’s luncheon and program possible. Lunch begins at 11:30 a.m. Civic Clubs, community organizations and public are encouraged to attend.