Nobles County Sheriff's Office working to promote child safety
WORTHINGTON — For 51 years, the Nobles County Sheriff’s Office has maintained an annual child safety and crime prevention education program for children and adults across the county. Now entering its 52nd year, local law enforcement wants to generate some public interest to help keep the program funded.
Through a partnership with the National Child Safety Council (NCSC), local law enforcement receives booklets developed for children ages four to 12, to help spread messages of safety.
More than 4,200 children are expected to receive the age-appropriate safety materials during the coming year in Nobles County.
While Wilkening said some of the booklets are given to students during the school year, he sees a high demand for them during the county fair, where supplies are offered for the taking.
“There’s good information on bullying, farm safety and being safe with guns,” said Wilkening, adding that there are also educational materials on school and bus safety.
“It’s educational and fun for the kids,” he continued. “Hopefully the farm safety and gun safety is sinking in to these kids.”
Kim Hiscox, area safety coordinator with the NCSC, said the materials have been designed exclusively by the National Child Safety Council, and are geared to educate adults as well as children. Topics are wide-ranging, and include crime prevention, accident prevention and substance abuse, as well as new focus materials on human trafficking and child abduction prevention.
“One-point-three million people went missing last year in the United States,” Hiscox said, adding that children are often abducted and used in kiddie porn and human trafficking.
Information from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reports 13 percent of elementary-aged children have received some type of sexual solicitation or approach through the Internet.
“In real terms in Minnesota, 13 percent amounts to more than 57,000 of the 438,000 elementary aged children,” Hiscox said.
By providing child safety information in schools, the goal is that both children and adults will read and understand the dangers and be proactive.
Hiscox said the safety materials cost $2.79 per child, and she is asking the public to consider sponsoring a group of children or perhaps an entire classroom.
Nearly 60 businesses from across Nobles County have made a financial contribution to fund the safety education materials thus far. Individuals interested in contributing to the safety program may send a donation, made payable to the National Child Safety Council, to Prairie Justice Center, 1530 Airport Road, Worthington 56187.
“Chief Mike Cumiskey has been very instrumental getting these publications out to the public and Christian schools in town,” Hiscox said. She encourages any families who homeschool their children to contact the local law enforcement offices for the materials.\
“We don’t want to leave anyone out,” she said. “This is very important.”
Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.