Fort Eustis observes Child Abuse Prevention Month, Shaking Baby Syndrome Training
By Tetaun Moffett
Soldiers from the Fort Eustis community joined the Family Advocacy Program to observe Child Abuse Prevention Month during the Month of the Military Child April 1 through 23 at Jacobs Theater. This year’s theme focused on “Children are our Future, Let’s Keep Our Children Safe by Protecting the Child,” which reiterates the importance of raising awareness about child abuse, neglect and encouraging individuals and communities to support children and families.
FAP provided specialized training focused on Shaking Baby Syndrome with keynote speakers Steve and Kathy Stowe from Shaken Baby Syndrome of Virginia. The Stowes shared their heartbreaking story about their grandson Jared, who died at the hands of his abusive father. During their presentation, although emotional, the Stowes left a message of hope and love for children all over the world.
“Our goal was to educate Soldiers about the potentially devastating effects caused by shaking a baby,” said Jane Kimidy, FAP director.
Kimidy added that men are more likely to cause severe shaken baby injuries and the incidence of Shaken Baby Syndrome has recently risen across the Department of Defense.
“The Stowes shared an emotional story, and I was profoundly moved and inspired by their presentation. I believe that their story will save and transform many lives,” said Kimidy.
According to Kimidy, the feedback from the Soldiers was overwhelming and the training inspired Soldiers to protect children and tell others about Shaken Baby Syndrome.
“One Soldier presented his combat medal to the Stowes and another pulled the patch from his uniform signifying his three tours in Iraq and gave it to them also,” Kimdy added.
The overall message is that child abuse and Shaken Baby Syndrome is preventable. Parenting can be stressful, but a moment of frustration or anger can result into lifelong consequences or even death.
FAP and New Parent Support provide a myriad of resources to educate and assist families. When abuse is suspected, FAP promotes prompt reporting, investigation, safety of victims with treatment and accountability of offenders. For more information call 878-0804.
Visit the Peninsula Warrior for more information and comments.