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The Waffle House shooter had an earlier weapons arrest near the White House. Also on our Monday rundown: new eviction data underscores America’s affordable-housing crisis; plus we will take you to a state where one county is putting juvenile justice under public health.

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Idahoans in Every County Recognize Child Abuse Prevention Month

Blue pinwheels are the symbol for Child Abuse Prevention Month. They'll be on display in all 44 Idaho counties. (Idaho Children's Trust Fund)
Blue pinwheels are the symbol for Child Abuse Prevention Month. They'll be on display in all 44 Idaho counties. (Idaho Children's Trust Fund)
April 4, 2018

BOISE, Idaho - April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and every county in Idaho will recognize it with displays of blue pinwheels and more. The state had a goal of scheduling events and raising awareness in all 44 Idaho counties by today.

The Parents as Teachers program at Eastern Idaho Public Health provides resources and home visits to new parents. The program's manager, Holly Whitworth, said adults need to be open to talking about abuse and understand the facts. She added that adults sometimes have to take risks in social situations to prevent abuse if they feel that a certain situation isn't right.

"For instance," she said, "if you were at a family party and someone was tickling a child and they weren't stopping tickling them, you could say, 'Hey, it looks like Bobby doesn't like this game. You need to stop.' So you describe the behavior, you set the limit, and then you move on. That's what taking a risk is when you talk about protecting children."

Whitworth said the old adage about "stranger danger" is a myth, and that 90 percent of abusers are known to parents or families. In 2016, child-abuse reports included more than 7 million children nationwide, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

An abuse-prevention rally at the state Capitol will begin at noon today.

Whitworth said people can call the 211 Idaho CareLine if they suspect a child is being abused or neglected, and the hotline will set them up with local resources. She cited the Idaho Children's Trust Fund as a good resource for techniques for preventing child abuse. Abuse can lead to halted development for children and poor health later in life, but Whitworth said there are ways to help kids cope.

"We know that children are resilient," she said, "and with enough caring adults in their life and with the appropriate interventions, they can recover and go on to live healthy, productive lives."

Whitworth said it's adults' responsibility to prevent child abuse in their communities. More events to raise awareness are planned across the state, including in Coeur d'Alene on Friday.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - ID