As gusts of wind blew away napkins and signs, a crowd gathered last Thursday outside the Courthouse in downtown Clinton.
The occasion was a flag-raising ceremony to honor victims of child abuse and neglect.
Tess Fletcher, director of the Children’s Advocacy Alliance, said that in the previous year 328 children have been removed from their homes because of abuse and neglect in Van Buren, Searcy and Faulkner counties. Fifty-three of those children are in Van Buren County.
Assistant prosecutor Troy Braswell talked about the conditions he has seen as a prosecutor.
“The child with broken bones because he wouldn’t be quiet, the burned child because Mom was mad that day,” Braswell said. “We’ve seen evil.”
Braswell talked about the importance of advocates for children. He said advocates were crusaders for “people who need help, who can’t take care of themselves.”
CASA volunteer coordinator Debra Lance also spoke of the need for advocates and said they are in short supply in Van Buren County.
County Judge Roger Hooper proclaimed April Child Abuse Prevention Month.
The crowd on the courthouse square was treated to hot dogs from Van Buren County Farm Bureau and to a few songs from Clinton High School’s jazz band.