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Child protection program under way

Kim Hiscox, safety coordinator with the National Child Safety Council, shows "Safetypup" to Worthington Director of Public Safety Mike Cumiskey on Tuesday at Prairie Justice Center. On the table are educational materials on child abduction prevention.

WORTHINGTON -- Worthington Director of Public Safety Mike Cumiskey and Nobles County Sheriff Kent Wilkening are organizing the 51st annual Child Safety and Crime Prevention Program geared toward students ages 5-18 in the public and Christian schools.

Home schoolers are encouraged to contact law enforcement with the grades of their children because the materials are grade specific. Children will receive training through workbooks, DVDs, pamphlets, worksheets, booklets and posters.

Child abduction prevention is the special focus in the 2012-2013 school year because of the surge in human trafficking nationwide. Internet safety is an element of that training.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has announced that 800,000 children turned up missing last year, so the goal of the training is to prevent the kidnapping of our precious children. The most marketable children are boys and girls ages 8 to 10.

Human trafficking is the third most profitable trade next to illegal drug trafficking and weapons dealing, according to the 10th annual Child Abduction Prevention Conference in Des Moines, Iowa, last October. Small towns are most vulnerable because of limited law enforcement personnel.

Cumiskey was presented Tuesday with a personalized copy of the book, "Why Johnnie Can't Come Home," signed by its author, Noreen Gosh (Johnnie's mom). The new school resource officer, Jacki Dawson, will make it available to the Nobles County Public Library as a valuable resource for families, educators and law enforcement so they can evaluate what needs to be done to stop the human trafficking networks.

Kim Hiscox, regional safety director for the National Child Safety Council (NCSC), is assisting the departments in planning and delivering the programs to as many school children and teens as the contributions will allow.

Topics covered are bullying prevention, drug, alcohol and tobacco awareness, farm safety, bike safety, child abuse prevention, good citizenship, peer pressure and domestic violence/sexual assault prevention.

NCSC is the oldest and largest organization dedicated to the safety and protection of children and families in the United States. To make the program a community effort, letters are being sent to businesses and service clubs asking for financial support in funding child protection education county-wide.

National Child Safety Council, founded in 1954, is a national non-profit, non-commercial, federally tax-exempt 501(c) 3 organization. As such, all contributions are tax-deductible. Any interested individuals may send their donations to the Worthington Police Department or the Nobles County Sheriff's Office, designating it toward the NCSC education program. Donor names will be published on the back covers of the safety manuals under the heading, "Provided by These People Who Care."