Participants Hold Conference To Prevent Child Abuse

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)- 1 in 4 children experience neglect or abuse, while it may not be easy to prevent it completely, advocates are in Topeka this week learning effective approaches to keep children safe.

"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine," participants sing.

Participants opened a conference with song, dance and flips in hopes of creating a positive movement in preventing child abuse and neglect--something Dona Booe has seen first-hand.

"As a society we need to do the best that we can for children. I've watched the lives of children and families destroyed by risk factors like substance abuse, domestic violence, and poverty," says Booe, President and C.E.O of Kansas Children's Service League.

Nearly 500 professionals who work with children attended the 37th Annual Governor's Conference to learn effective approaches to keep children safe.

"We know that 1 out of 4 adults experience adversity in childhood, so we know that there are about 25% of the population who are at risk," says Booe.

Gail Cozaad says she is a child abuse survivor and she says she isn't alone.

"We are called survivors for a reason, and we do have the ability to make a difference and move forward," says Cozaad from Kansas Children's Service League.

Pictures of children who suffered from abuse and neglect lined the outside of the work session rooms. Organizers say the children in these pictures don't want to be viewed as a number or a statistic, but instead be shown in a positive light.

"These photographs really kind of show, them for what they are, they are just kids," says Corey Lada.

Participants say their goal is to make sure families give children the loving childhood they deserve.

"A family can survive, and people can be successful," says Cozadd.

This is a three day conference. It's hoped participants will use what they learn to better spot and deal with potential issues and be better able to prevent abuse and neglect.