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October 1, 2002
New book series, Maple Leaf storyteller, purple ribbons highlight launch of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month
On Tuesday, October 1, Ken Dryden and Darcy Tucker from the Toronto Maple Leafs
joined Councillor Olivia Chow, Toronto's Children's Advocate, and a team of
children's specialists to launch Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month. The
month of October will feature a variety of activities across Toronto to
highlight the need to educate children, parents, educators and the broader
community about how to effectively combat child abuse and neglect.

Since 1992, the purple ribbon has been used to represent the prevention of
child abuse and neglect. This year, the Children's Aid Society of Toronto,
Catholic Children's Aid Society and Jewish Family and Child Service will
distribute ribbons at subway stations and on GO train platforms. Other
highlights of the month will be media coverage and a series of ads on
television billboards, also known as "Roadside TV," that encourage the
community to report suspected child abuse or neglect, and an Official
Proclamation by Mayor Mel Lastman declaring October Child Abuse and Neglect
Prevention Month.

"Even though we should be teaching our children all year round, this month
gives us a chance to reinforce the message that child abuse is never
acceptable," said Councillor Chow. "It is important to send out this message
again and again. As long as one child is at risk, our job is not done."

"We will investigate 700 cases of suspected abuse and neglect this month. It's
time for everyone to help prevent this suffering. The children cannot wait,"
said Bruce Rivers, executive director of the Children''s Aid Society of Toronto.

Added Ken Dryden, president of the Toronto Maple Leafs, "Child abuse may seem
like someone else's problem. But really, it is one person taking advantage of a
child. Because they are bigger or stronger, older or richer, with more status
or power. We need to stand up for kids who need our help. We need to help kids
stand up for themselves."

This event also featured the launch of the new "I'm a Great Little Kid" book
series, a project of Toronto Child Abuse Centre. This series of six books,
published by Second Story Press, offers fun reading for children up to eight
years of age, while imparting important messages about safety, self-esteem and
respect. Each book is designed to be read by children or to children, as was
demonstrated by Darcy Tucker of the Toronto Maple Leafs, who read one story to
an enthusiastic group of children from Hester How Day Care Centre.

"Preventing child abuse is a shared adult responsibility," said Sue Hunter,
Executive Director of the Toronto Child Abuse Centre. "Children are not
responsible for protecting themselves. The "I'm a Great Little Kid" prevention
program helps children identify what positive, healthy relationships look and
feel like and lessens their vulnerability to abusive situations. However, no
prevention program can substitute for caring adults who pay attention to what
is happening in children's lives and who take action when a child lets them
know, either through words or actions, that help is needed."

Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month highlights an urgent issue that the
entire community must address, for the safety and protection of children across
Toronto. "Jewish Family and Child Service believes that everyone must recognize
and report suspicion of child abuse to ensure the protection of children," said
Gordon Wolfe, executive director of Jewish Family and Child Service. "Communal
and religious leadership as well as public education are essential elements in
the prevention of child abuse in our community."

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