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"Strong Man, Gentle Man" program created to help prevent child abuse from male caregivers

The "Strong Man, Gentle Man" campaign can be seen throughout Toledo (WNWO - Michael Fairchild).

Three children, all one-year-old or under, died within the first four months of 2018.

"We don't want to see another dead baby in the community. There's been three already, but that's enough," said Director of the Child Abuse Prevention Program at Mercy Health, Dr. Randall Schlievert.

The male caregiver in the household, or the mother's boyfriend, is charged in each of the three cases.

From 2001 to 2015, the mother's boyfriend or stepfather was responsible for 25 percent of child deaths in Lucas County.

"We saw a dangerous trend, and the trend has continued. We have to be in the business of prevention. We can't always respond after the fact," said Lucas County Children Services Executive Director, Robin Reese.

Josh Herron, Eric Mathis and Zachary Shadix have all been indicted, and are facing aggravated murder charges.

"It's incredibly frustrating, and that's why we need the community. We need the cousins, we need the brothers and sisters, and here's some alternatives if you start losing your cool," stated TPD Chief George Kral.

Lucas County Children Services is looking to see the child abuse cases stop.

They're doing so with a movement called "Strong Man, Gentle Man."

"It's grassroots, but it's worth it. It's worth the try," explained Reese.

The campaign will feature billboards, posters, PSA's and more to spread the word, with it's goal to educate males taking care of their significant other's baby.

"In the past, our messaging has been to moms, and we realized we haven't even spoken to the males in the situation. That's when we decided that this is what we want to do," stated Reese.

Pamphlets with many different resources will be passed around by Children Services, Toledo Police and other partners, with hopes families and males themselves, will seek the training they need.

"Too many think that a strong man is a rough man. Today, we come together to help our community embrace the fact that a strong man is a gentle man," said Dr. Schlievert.

If you would like to learn more about the program, click here.

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