Businesses need to step forward for child safety

When children feel unsafe or unhappy, particularly at home, they need a place to go for security and assistance.

Children in Bartholomew County will have more of those options thanks to a partnership among three family-centered organizations: Foundation For Youth, Family Service Inc. and Bartholomew County Youth Services. They have created the county’s first Safe Place program.

The idea is to create safe havens for children who might be encountering problems at home or related to drugs and alcohol, for example. These agencies are working with businesses that are open 24 hours to provide a Safe Place any time.

Businesses that are safe havens will be identifiable by a yellow diamond that shows a Safe Place logo. Trained employees at the stores will talk to the children to determine their need, and one of the agencies will be contacted. The agencies will provide the appropriate services to help, including shelter if needed.

This is a good idea worthy of support, but the organizing groups need more businesses to step up and participate beyond the few that have already done so.

Children are precious. They also can be easily hurt. It’s important for a community to nurture and protect its children. That protection will be enhanced with every Safe Place that is available for them to turn in a time of need.

Foundation For Youth has the tall task of spreading the word about this program. That’s vital because if children do not know about Safe Place options, the program won’t help them.

And if businesses don’t step forward to volunteer as a Safe Place, then Foundation For Youth has no program to promote and children won’t have safe havens to help them.

That would be disappointing.

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To learn more about Safe Place:

•Foundation for Youth: 450 Hope Ave., Columbus; 812-372-7867

•Family Service, Inc.: 1531 13th St., Suite 2540, Columbus; 812-372-3745

Bartholomew County Youth Services: 2350 Illinois St., Columbus; 812-379-1768