Child Protection Workshop
A lot of parents talk to their kids about stranger danger, but statistics show that most of the abductions and assaults happen with people the victim families know according to John Winckler of Santa Clara County’s Family and Children’s Services. “Don’t focus so much on the stranger, but teach your kids to be aware of when situations start to change from safe to unsafe.”
What’s so discomforting in Maddy’s case is that the crime took place in a close-knit, easygoing artist community where neighbors looked out for neighbors and their children, and it involved two kids who were often seen on scooters and skateboards and known as anything but troublemakers. Yet now teenager Adrian Gonzalez has been charged with murder along with a string of unsettling special circumstances: lying in wait, murder in the course of forcible rape, kidnapping and lewd or lascivious acts with a child.
“Communities ought to be safe for kids. They ought to be able to play outside,” Irene van der Zande from Kidpower, a child safety organization said. “The reality is sometimes terrible things happen.” Her recommendations:
Set clear boundaries, such as “do not go to anyone’s home, even a neighbor’s, without telling me” and “don’t change plans without telling me.”
Ensure that kids know how to refuse when somebody is being friendly, interesting or kind, in offering a ride or inviting a child into a home.
Stress that children’s safety is more important than their embarrassment, discomfort, or social or sports advancement
The Maddy Child Angel of Santa Cruz organization is taking these recommendations seriously, and is intent on providing education to help protect children from similar fates by instilling and reinforcing the basic idea of children informing their caregiver whenever they go anywhere…“Before you go, let someone know”!