Pubdate: Wed, 25 Apr 2007
Source: Nevada Appeal (Carson City, NV)
Copyright: 2007 Nevada Appeal
Author: Teri Vance
Bookmark: (Youth)



Chrystal Main, spokeswoman for the Division of Child and Family 
Services, said children being raised in homes where meth is used is a 
common scenario in Carson City.

"They're subject to a total lack of supervision," she said. "Their 
home life becomes chaotic, and their basic needs are neglected."

As a result of the neglect, she said, they are often left vulnerable 
to abuse and injustices committed by unsavory people hanging around the house.

However, the department works first to rehabilitate the family rather 
than removing the children.

"All the literature indicates that taking a child away is the worst 
thing in the world for that child," she said.

If abuse is detected, action will be taken. Main said officials rely 
on the community to alert them to any potential abuse.

"We've all got to be very judicious as a community," she said. "If 
you suspect anything, report it."

And she noted abuse isn't only physical.

"It's those other types of emotional, psychological or developmental 
abuses that are often long-term," she said. "A broken arm repairs 
over a certain amount of time. The psyche does not."

She asked the community to be more watchful, especially in honor of 
April, which is National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

"An increase in meth use leads to an increase in child abuse," she 
said. "I'm ripped apart every day by what's going on with these 
children. We really need to work together."

Nanette Oleson, counselor at Fremont Elementary School, said she, 
too, sees many families dealing with addictions.

She said the most effective tool she has seen is positive role models.

Oleson said programs like the Mentor Center of Western Nevada and Big 
Brothers Big Sisters can change the course of a child's future.

"I'm here for the kids, but they know it's my job," she said. "What 
can make a difference is someone positive who is outside the family 
and has a vested interest in that kid. There's something unique about 
the fact that there's an individual whose primary interest is that child."