Monday, May 11, 2009

News; PURPLE Prevention Program Planned for Kansas

The Topeka Capitol Journal reports on plans by the Wichita Child Abuse Fatality Community Response Team to implement the PURPLE prevention program in Wichita, KS...

WICHITA -- Amid a recent spate of child-abuse deaths, a community group has announced a campaign to teach parents how to cope with a crying baby.

The program is the first initiative of the Wichita Child Abuse Fatality Community Response Team, which formed in the fall in response to eight homicides in the city that were linked to child abuse or neglect in 2008.

Their so-called “Period of Purple Crying” initiative starts June 1.

Parents giving birth at Wichita hospitals or birthing centers will watch a brief DVD before leaving with their newborn. Parents also will get a copy of the DVD and a booklet titled “Did you know your infant would cry like this?” The materials were developed by the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome.

The idea is to prevent child abuse, particularly shaken-baby syndrome, by emphasizing that it is normal for babies to cry, sometimes for hours and for no apparent reason. It also assures parents it is OK to put a crying baby down and walk away for a few minutes.

The simple reminders are especially important now because incidents of child abuse and domestic violence usually increase during times of economic stress, said Vicky Roper, director of Prevent Child Abuse Kansas at the Kansas Children’s Service League.

Her group hopes parents will share the video with anyone who might care for their baby.

“To have a baby that cries and cries and cries despite all your best efforts — that’s probably the time when you feel the absolute worst as a parent,” said James Haan, a Wichita doctor with four children, including two sets of twins under the age of 3.

Haan, medical director of trauma services at Via Christi Medical Center, said he already is seeing more cases of possible abuse. Shaken-baby syndrome can cause permanent paralysis, brain damage and death.

“Things are tough and money is tight, and a baby can stress things out even more,” he said.

The Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services is funding the $35,000 campaign through a grant from the federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act.

“We want to make sure that all children in our community are safe,” said Jean Hogan, regional director for Social and Rehabilitation Services.

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