Catholic Charities of East Tennessee will offer child abuse prevention education and in-home counseling to struggling families in counties surrounding Chattanooga. These services are now available in Marion, Grundy and Sequatchie counties through a Child Abuse Prevention Grant from the state of Tennessee.
The Columbus Home Assisting Parents (CHAP) program provides intensive home-based parent education and supportive counseling services to families who do not qualify for other intervention programs.
The services are tailored to each family’s needs to prevent abuse or neglect and improve the home situation allowing children to safely remain in the home. CHAP has helped hundreds of families in Knox, Grainger, Sevier and Blount counties.
“There is nothing more terrible than the abuse or neglect of a defenseless child,” said Father Ragan Schriver, executive director of Catholic Charities of East Tennessee. “CHAP seeks to prevent these tragedies before they happen. We provide parents with the tools to heal their struggling families before the situation escalates putting children at risk.”
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the United States has the worst record of child abuse of any industrialized nation with five abuse-related child deaths every day. CHAP seeks to prevent child abuse by attacking the source: instability in families and parents. In more than 80 percent of child abuse cases reported in 2010, the perpetrators were the parents of the child.
Families are referred to CHAP through schools, medical clinics, the Tennessee Department of Children Services, churches and other community organizations, or families may enroll themselves in the program. The program typically lasts between three to six months or until the family is stabilized.
“Through CHAP, I’m confident we will be able to provide help and create hope for struggling families and reduce child abuse and neglect in these counties,” Schriver said.
For information on the CHAP in the counties surrounding Chattanooga, contact Jennifer Wilson at 865/323-3818.