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January 20, 2012

DPHHS launches Raise Your Voice child abuse prevention media campaign

Lake County area children offer modeling talents for posters

The Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) has launched a new media campaign called 'Raise Your Voice for Montana Kids' to raise awareness about the prevention of child abuse and neglect.

As part of the campaign, children from Ronan, Polson and St. Ignatius were photographed last fall for posters created to raise awareness about this issue. The posters have now been released. The campaign promotes the child abuse hotline and general prevention of child abuse and neglect.

The campaign includes four posters that feature 17 Lake County children who offered their modeling skills in early November 2011. The campaign also includes one radio spot that has already aired in various markets in Kalispell, Bozeman, Missoula, Great Falls, Helena, Butte, Billings and on several stations along the Hi-Line. The ad will air again in April and May and features Helena youth.

For the poster photo shoot, children came to Salish Kootenai College for two hours. The result was four posters that are now being distributed statewide in DPHHS offices and other appropriate locations. A total of 2,000 posters were printed.

"We hope these posters will connect with people and serve as a reminder for anyone who suspects child abuse to call our toll free number, "said DPHHS Director Anna Whiting Sorrell. "It’s all about protecting our youth from abuse and neglect."

Montanans who suspect a child is being abused or neglected are urged to call the child abuse prevention hotline at 1-866-820-KIDS (5437).

The November photo shoot went off without a hitch.  According to DPHHS Public Information Officer Jon Ebelt, children of all ages agreed to attend the photo shoot that ended with a pizza party. "These kids were awesome to work with," he said. "They did a great job of listening to instructions from the photographer and were very patient throughout the entire process. We couldn’t have asked for a better group of kids. They just did a great job."

The original goal was to produce one quality poster. "However, after reviewing the photos, we knew there was no way we could narrow it down to just one," Ebelt said. "Ultimately, we decided on four photos that resulted in the four final posters. There were so many great photos to choose from, it was really difficult to get down to four."

DPHHS Child and Family Services Division employee Tracy Perez and Ronan daycare provider Martha McClure helped coordinate the photo shoot and enlist the children. "This could not have happened without Tracy and Martha," Ebelt said. "We also really appreciate all the parents for allowing their children to be photographed."

Prior to the photo shoot, McClure actually explained to the children the purpose of the photo shoot and that they had a "very special job as serving as spokespeople for this important project," Ebelt said. "Martha did a fabulous job ‘prepping’ the children for the photo shoot and talking with them about the important message they are helping to spread."

The goal is for the posters to remain on the walls of DPHHS offices and other locations for years to come. "We hope the posters are long lasting and will continue to serve as a reminder for all Montanans to continue to be vigilant about reporting child abuse and neglect," Whiting Sorrell said.

Children who attended the photo shoot were Isidra Perez, Susseli Pete, Ignace Quequesah; Levi, Justin and Brock McClure; Talayna Endfield, Brian Lyles, Kaitlyn Croft, Gatlin and Anna Schiele; Mackenzie, Kyler and Meagan McDonald; Trevor and Kelsey Gillin; Larenz and Saanjay Smallboy; Ryanne Rider; and Sierra, Robert, Jonathan and Olivia Perez.

Page last updated: 07/31/2013