Burnet County maintenance staff assist the Burnet County Child Welfare Board with hanging shoes in a tree on the Burnet County Courthouse lawn March 30. As part of Child Abuse Awareness Month in April, the organization hung the shoes to highlight the number of children in Burnet County foster care, which is 63. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton
DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR
BURNET — The shoes were flying just outside the Burnet County Courthouse on March 30.
But nobody was throwing them at each other. Instead, members of the Burnet County Child Welfare Board were putting them in one of the courthouse trees (along with a little help from the Burnet County maintenance department.) The members gathered up 63 shoes, tied them into pairs and then hung them from a tree on the southwest side of the building.
“Each one of these shoes represents a child who suffered from abuse or neglect and is now in a Burnet County foster home,” said Caroline Ragsdill, a member of the board. “This is something that happens right here in our own community. I think a lot of people might not realize it does happen here in Burnet County, but (child abuse) does, and we need to stop it.”
April is Child Abuse Awareness Month, and as part of it, the board and other child welfare organizations across the county and the Highland Lakes want to remind people about this issue. It often gets pushed out of sight and mind, but Ragsdill said one of the best ways to prevent child abuse is through awareness and education.
“If you suspect abuse or neglect, you have a duty to report it,” she said. “Each one of us needs to be the voice for the children.”
The Burnet County Child Welfare Board works on behalf of children, especially those in foster care. Along with the shoe tree, the board is promoting April 10 as Go Blue Day during which people wear a blue ribbon or blue attire in recognition of child abuse awareness and prevention.
And April 26, the last Sunday of the month, is Blue Sunday. Ragsdill said the board is reaching out to area churches and asking them to include something about child abuse awareness and prevention in their bulletins.
“It’s just about building community awareness,” she said.
Other organizations such as CASA for the Highland Lakes Area and the Hill Country Children’s Advocacy Center are also promoting April as Child Abuse Awareness Month. Go www.preventchildabuse.org, highlandlakescasa.com or www.hccac.org for more information on how to prevent child abuse or how to help.