National Child Abuse Prevention Month

On Saturday, April 21, 2018, members of the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office participated in and supported the “Race Against Child Abuse.”

For the last 10 years, this event has been held in St. Helens, Oregon to support the Amani Center in Columbia County. The Amani Center provides forensic child abuse evaluations and support for children and their families who may have been impacted by abuse or neglect.

This year’s event included a half marathon, a one mile family walk/run, a 10K and a 5K. All of the money raised went to support the Amani Center.

In Multnomah County, our local child abuse assessment center is called “CARES Northwest.” It is part of the Multidisciplinary Child Abuse Team (MDT). The Multnomah County Multidisciplinary Child Abuse Team includes representatives from local law enforcement, public schools, hospitals, courts, health departments, the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS), and the Oregon Department of Employment Child Care Division.

“Supporting Child Assessment Centers (CACs), like the Amani Center in Columbia County and CARES NW in Multnomah County, is critical to child health and wellness across Oregon,” Senior Deputy District Attorney John Casalino said. “Our office is excited to participate in the Race Against Child Abuse.”

CARES Northwest provides a safe, child-friendly environment for the assessment of children for whom there are concerns of physical or sexual abuse, neglect and exposure to domestic violence. The organization was found in 1987 and provides services to more than 5,000 children annually.

“Child Assessment Centers like CARES NW are essential partners in our MDT,” Casalino said.  “These groups contribute to our mission of keeping children safe, strengthening families and holding offenders accountable for harming some of the most vulnerable members of our community.”

The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Multidisciplinary Child Abuse Team is responsible for reviewing and coordinating all child abuse and neglect cases in Multnomah County. The team also handles all child homicides, felony child physical abuse cases, felony child abandonment cases, custodial interference cases, and felony sex crimes where the victim is currently under the age of 18 and where the perpetrator is considered a family member.

According to the Oregon Department of Human Services Child Welfare Data Book’s February 2018 report, during FFY 2017, DHS received 80,683 reports of suspected child abuse or neglect, an increase of 5.2 percent from the prior year. Of those, 43,976 reports were referred for investigation. In Multnomah County, DHS reported that there were 16,652 reports of child abuse or neglect for FFY 2017.

“Child abuse has tremendous adverse impacts on victims with lifelong consequences into adulthood,” Casalino said. “It is an important public health issue that deserves resources geared toward prevention, prosecution and treatment.”

Additional Resource:

“Child abuse reverberates throughout the community. It doesn’t just impact the individual,” Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill supporting the Portland Children’s Levy, which, for the last 15 years, has invested over $150 million in proven programs that help keep children safe, healthy and successful.

Shareable video on the Portland Children’s Levy  featuring Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill.


Contact: Brent Weisberg, Communications Director

Phone: 503.988.6567