OKEECHOBEE – At their April 8 meeting, the Okeechobee County Board of County Commissioners designated the month of April 2021 Child Abuse Prevention Month in Okeechobee County.
The board also congratulated Hibiscus Children’s Center on its 35th anniversary serving communities on the Treasure Coast, and commends them for their work of providing a safe haven and services, including mental health counseling to children and families in our community.
“It is our mission to provide a safe shelter for abused, abandoned and neglected children,” said Caroline Vinyard, Chief Operating Office, of Hibiscus Children’s Center in Jensen Beach.
She said they continue to honor the vision of their founder, LaVaughn Tilton, who died in January. Tilton founded the center in 1985. Hibiscus has since provided 400,000 safe nights to over 3,000 abused, abandoned and neglected children on the Treasure Coast.”
Vinyard said the program has helped children from Okeechobee for 20 years, with the help of funding from United Way. Three staff members go into homes in Okeechobee working with new parents, serving about 50 Okeechobee County families each year.
She said Okeechobee County had 49 reported cases of child abuse in the past year.
“We believe every child is one caring adult away from being a success story,” she said.
“Children are vital to our future success, and every child has the right to be safe, healthy and happy; and all children deserve to receive love, nurturing and care and live in communities that foster their healthy growth and development,” the proclamation explains.
“Child abuse and neglect is a community responsibility, affecting both the current and future quality of life of any community,” it continues.
“Hibiscus Children’s Center upholds the legacy of transforming the lives of children and families, and embraces opportunities that can potentially change the way society cares for children.