Local dignitaries gathered on the McDuffie County Courthouse lawn Monday morning to mark April as Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Both County Commission Chairman Charlie Newton and Thomson Mayor Bob Knox signed the proclamation urging citizens to protect children and help prevent abuse and neglect.
The Prevent Child Abuse Georgia Website states that "Preventing child abuse means strengthening the ability of parents and communities to care for their children's health and well-being.
"As members of families, neighborhoods and communities, all adults share the responsibility for the safety of children. Each of us has opportunities to help insure that children grow up nurtured, safe and healthy."
According to the Department of Family and Children Services, reported cases of child abuse in the county were up in 2006. There were 312 reported cases in 2005 and 378 in 2006.
But the good news was that fewer cases were substantiated last year - 79 - as opposed to 86 in 2005.
In the meantime, DFCS started "diversion," a new process that allows case managers into the home to provide support and referral services. In 2006, they were able to help 78 families with this less intrusive response.