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Taking the Long View on Child Abuse Prevention

Taking the Long View on Child Abuse Prevention

As Chief Probation Officer for Napa County, Mary Butler has seen firsthand the importance of preventing child abuse and neglect. “When I walk into Juvenile Hall, I see children who would rather be locked up than go home,” she said. “Adolescents tend to act out a little bit more. They get into trouble. They are brought into Juvenile Hall and they’re identified as the problem. But when you dig a little deeper, you find out their home life is very chaotic. They may or may not have a home. They may not have food for meals. They gain 20-30 pound while in Juvenile Hall because it is the first time they’ve had three meals every day. Kids have told me ‘If I’m here at Christmas, I’ll get a Christmas present. But if I leave before the Christmas party, I won’t get any presents this year.’ It breaks your heart. Kids shouldn’t be in Juvenile Hall to get a Christmas present.”