‘State of the Child’ preview: Pot laws, vaping new issues

Kent County

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — West Michigan’s changing social landscape is leading to new obstacles for children, law enforcement and resource providers say.

Next week, Wedgewood Christian Services plans to outline some of those new issues and the first steps toward conquering them during its annual “State of the Child” panel discussion.

“We now have some new challenges with new marijuana laws, with vaping that we never had before. With opioid addiction… that has been out of hand for a long time. And we have social media challenges — exploitation and mean-spirited attacks and those sort of things to deal with,” said Wedgwood Christian Services CEO Randy Zylstra

Kent County Sheriff Michelle Lajoye-Young said newly enacted legislation is providing additional tools to tackle the long-term problem of cyberbullying.

“But again, we always say that working ahead of the problem is the bigger solution. It’s not trying to get kids in trouble, it’s trying to deal with it before they turn to some of these things,” she added.

“The first place to start is to identify the problem and ask for help,” reiterated Zylstra.

Zylstra says Wedgwood Christian Services has been holding its State of the Child panel conversation for about four years. WOTV 4’s Maranda will lead this year’s discussion, which will involve community experts.

The breakfast event will take place at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park on April 30, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

General admission tickets are $25 and student tickets are available for $15. For details and to register, visit Wedgwood Christian Service’s website.

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