BRAZOS VALLEY, Texas — Community members are combining their efforts to spread awareness of child abuse and prevention for the month of April.
Tracey Calanog fostered her now adopted two young boys and over the years she has witnessed firsthand the impact of child abuse.
"It shapes the way they think, the way they do things physically, just emotionally, it really does stick with them and impact them for the rest of their lives,” said Tracey Calanog, adoptive parent.
Community leaders look to take this month to encourage community members to be the eyes and ears to help protect children from abuse and neglect.
"Child abuse involves some of our most vulnerable and that’s our children so we as a law enforcement agency, the district attorney's office, Scotty's house all collaborate together to try and make a difference,” said Billy Couch, Chief of Police.
Since 1995, Scotty’s house has been able to help nearly 10,000 children who are victims of neglect and abuse. But during the pandemic, they witnessed a decrease in reports.
"It was concerning because we knew that child abuse had not just slowed down it was that there was no one to notice that there was something wrong with these children or a person that child could feel safe with to tell that something was happening to them,” said Tammy Bailes, director of operations for Scotty's house.
Although Calanogs son’s carry the trauma of their abuse, her eldest takes this month as a chance to also educate his friends about the importance.
"Every April he does try to remind his friends about it and you know try to do something a little special and he will even want to drive by the pinwheels and just say a little prayer for each of them,” added Calanog.