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Posted Wednesday, April 10th, 2019

Honor Deirdre’s House for Leading the Effort to Protect Abused and Neglected Children

The Morris County Board of Freeholders today proclaimed April as Child Abuse Prevention Month 2019 in Morris County, to call attention to the need to protect the youngest and most vulnerable members of our community. See the video.

Freeholders Proclaim April As Child Abuse Prevention Month

Deirdre’s House Executive Director Maria Savettiere speaks at the meeting.

A proclamation was presented to Maria Savettiere, Executive Director of nonprofit Deirdre’s House, who was joined at the event by Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp.

Also attending the event from Deirdre’s Houses were Board Members Stephanie Caravela and Edwin Zipf; Clinical Counselor Nancy Begin, Child Advocates Gisela Guevara and Valeria Espinel, and Program Coordinator Jaime Kaiser.

“Making this a priority national issue dates to 1983, when President Ronald Reagan declared April as the first National Child Abuse Prevention Month in our nation,” Freeholder Director Doug Cabana said at the board’s meeting in Morristown. “We carry that important mission forward right here is Morris County to create awareness about the dangers of child abuse and steps that can be taken to prevent it in our own communities.”

Freeholders Proclaim April As Child Abuse Prevention Month

From left, Deirdre’s House trustee Edwin Zipf, Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp, Deirdre’s House Executive Director Maria Savettiere, Freeholder Director Doug Cabana and freeholder John Krickus.

“In Morris County, the dedicated staff at Deirdre’s House are on the front line of this battle every day. Deirdre’s House works with victims of abuse and neglect, providing a safe haven for these young victims,” added Freeholder Kathy DeFillippo, who is the county governing board’s liaison on human services issues.

Deirdre’s House, which is the Center for Morris County’s child victims, is urging the county community to get actively involved to support child victims of sexual and physical abuse.

Deirdre’s House is the only site in Morris County where a child victim can be forensically interviewed and recorded by law enforcement, be medically examined and treated by a pediatric abuse specialist. Child victims also receive trauma focused clinical counseling in English or Spanish- all free of charge-all under one roof.

In 2018 Deirdre’s House had more than 2,800 child victim visits. Since opening its doors in 1996, Deirdre’s House has more than 32,000 child victim visits.

Freeholders Proclaim April As Child Abuse Prevention Month

Deirdre’s House also is the coordinator of the Morris County Multidisciplinary Team which reviews and oversees more than 200 child abuse cases per year.

Members of the team, which includes the Prosecutor’s Office and state Division of Child Protection, ensure that Morris County’s child victims of abuse and/or neglect receive the services they need to recover from the trauma they have suffered and obtain justice for the crimes perpetrated against them.

For a description of family risk factors and signs that a child is being abused, visit  NewBridge or take a look at the state Department of Health and Human Services’ Prevention Resource Guide.

In 2017, NewBridge, a Morris County non-profit organization that offers counseling, housing and education to youth, adults and seniors, helped 424 abused and neglected children and their families cope with and overcome the trauma of abuse.

Anyone who has reason to believe a child is being abused should call State Central Registry at 1-877 NJ ABUSE (and 911 if a child is in imminent danger).

Reports can be made anonymously and callers are not required to provide evidence of the allegation.