In 2013, Garfield County Child Advocacy Council began the Wooden Children Project as a way of making the community aware of the number of children that are abused/neglected in Garfield County.
The community response to this project has been overwhelming, according to organizers. The number of groups and individuals agreeing to foster wooden children has increased as the number of actual abuse victims increases.
In 2020, 248 children were confirmed as abused or neglected in Garfield County, a decrease from 373 the year before. Although that is a significant decrease in cases for the year, it does not necessarily mean that child abuse did not occur. These numbers could have decreased due to the pandemic and children not being in school where they had a trusted adult they could confide in.
That means 248 wooden children are in need to be fostered. Fostering involves dressing and displaying the children and bringing them to the courthouse lawn on April 1 so they can stand throughout Child Abuse Prevention Month as reminders of the real children who are victims of abuse/neglect. If you would like to foster a wooden child, call (580) 242-1153.
Last year, Garfield County Child Advocacy Council had to make more wooden children for the project. Helping out were CDSA Youth Build staff and students for cutting, painting and installing brackets on the wooden children; Ralph and Barbara Kroll for the use of their barn and cutting out wooden children; Bud and Pat Durheim for cutting out wooden children; Kenneth Wade for securing rebar for the project and cutting out wooden children; and Gary Hula and the Chisholm High School Student Council for bringing the wooden children up from the basement and storing them again after the project. Don Chambers, Cottom Farms, Stevens Ford, Joyce Markes and Lori Markes donated money and supplies to help produce more wooden children last year. CASA volunteers helped with calling, name tags and handing out wooden children.