Albuquerque launches child abuse prevention initiative

Updated: 04/01/2014 8:53 AM | Created: 04/01/2014 8:48 AM
By: Nikki Ibarra and Elizabeth Reed, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Albuquerque city leaders will launch a new effort to prevent child abuse in the community with an outreach session on Tuesday.

The session takes place at the APD Training Academy on 2nd Street at 6 p.m. Anyone can attend, ask questions and give input about child abuse prevention. Local experts will also be on hand to lead the discussion.

The outreach initiative comes after the tragic death of 9-year-old Omaree Varela. Albuquerque police said Omaree's mother, Synthia Varela-Casaus, kicked him to death in December.

The case sparked statewide outrage and criticism of the Albuquerque Police Department and the state's Children, Youth and Families Department.

Activists said more should have been done to protect Omaree, especially since police were called to the child's home at least twice before his death.

Throughout the month of April, the city is raising awareness about child abuse prevention at Civic Plaza. On Friday, community members are encouraged to wear blue for an event at the plaza from 12-1 p.m.

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