Candlelight vigil set Tuesday for Child Abuse Awareness Month

Sunday, April 6, 2014
Child Abuse Prevention month activities kicked off last week with the placement of pinwheels on the courthouse lawn in honor of child abuse victims in 2013. The activities continue at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Gobin United Methodist Church with a short ceremony highlighting the importance of child abuse prevention efforts in the county.

Communities across the state will gather together at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 8 to simultaneously for pinwheels for prevention ceremonies marking the need to prevent child abuse in Indiana.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and in Putnam County a special ceremony will take place at the Gobin Memorial United Methodist Church.

Statewide, DCS is working with local Prevent Child Abuse Indiana councils, court-appointed special advocates (CASAs) as well as other child advocacy groups and local officials, to unite families, neighbors, professionals and policy-makers in the concerted effort to identify and address the issues that lead to abuse or neglect.

"This is about unity and solidarity in making children a priority," said Shelly Chadd, local office director for the Department of Child Services.

By the time children come into the DCS system, they're already victims of abuse or neglect, Chadd said.

"We need all eyes and ears in the community reporting child abuse and neglect," she added, "but equally important, we need everyone from families and extended families to neighbors and friends -- working together to prevent child abuse."

Cari Cox, director of Family Support Services, says the organization sees the root causes every day of child abuse as Prevent Child Abuse Indiana works with families.

"Parenting is hard enough," Cox said, "but when families are also struggling with basic survival needs like food, shelter and keeping the lights on, it can create stress and hopelessness that escalates into child abuse."

DCS, child advocacy groups and local government officials understand the realities that can lead to family crises.

"Child abuse prevention is a cause that should mobilize our communities to blend our resources, talents and efforts in order to protect vulnerable children," Chadd said. "There is tremendous work being done to protect our children in the State of Indiana, but there is always opportunity for each of us to do more."

There are currently 101 children in Putnam County being served by DCS.

On April 8, a special "Pinwheels for Prevention" garden will be planted on the front lawn of Gobin. At 7:30 p.m., a short ceremony will highlight the importance of child abuse prevention efforts in the county. Local officials and child abuse prevention advocates will make short remarks.

Gov. Mike Pence has proclaimed April as Prevent Child Abuse Awareness Month in Indiana. The governor will kick off the Marion County ceremony at the Indiana Statehouse.

DCS is committed to protecting children who are victims of abuse or neglect. The agency's primary goal is to safely keep these children at home with their families by offering appropriate support services. It also manages the child support bureau.

The Indiana Child Abuse/Neglect Hotline is available at 800-800-5556 or visit

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: