WATERVILLE — The Kennebec Valley Community Action Program was awarded funding from the Maine Children’s Trust to implement a three-year pilot project charged with preventing child abuse and neglect in Kennebec County, according to a news release from Andrea Pasco, KVCAP development director.

This is the second round of funding for these prevention grants. Grants have also been awarded to the child abuse and neglect councils in Somerset, Franklin, Androscoggin, Penobscot and York counties.

Kennebec County rates in substantiated child abuse and neglect have been on the rise in the last year. Babies younger than 1 years old are by far the age group most affected by child maltreatment in Kennebec County as well as across the state. Identifying risk factors such as substance abuse, domestic violence, and poor mental health is vital in order to develop responsive prevention strategies that support families throughout the county, according to the release.

In partnership between DHHS and the Maine Children’s Trust, KVCAP will lead the Kennebec Initiative. A local community group will be established and will include key community stakeholders and people who work with children and families throughout the county.

This group will focus on identifying gaps in programs and supports for families and select relevant evidence-based prevention strategies. Members will engage in a strategic planning process that will ultimately help coordinate and enhance child abuse and neglect prevention services in this region.

For more information, contact Lanelle Freeman at 859-1577 or [email protected].