Child Abuse Prevention Month to celebrate families

Thursday, March 27, 2014

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, a proclamation that will be signed by county commissioners on April 8 as part of National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

The vigil will begin at 7:30 p.m. with keynote speaker Tina Cloer, of Children's Bureau Incorporated, and Judge Mathew Headley providing opening remarks.

The vigil is held across all 92 Indiana counties simultaneously, uniting child abuse prevention and support organizations across the state. Local 4-H Junior Leaders have volunteered their time to assist with event management.

The vigil is just one of many events that will take place during the month of April aimed to celebrate family values and provide information to Putnam County residents of child abuse prevention resources and support systems available for families and caregivers.

The goal of Child Abuse Prevention Month isn't just to promote abuse prevention, but to also encourage family bonding, parent-child interactions, and strengthening relationship ties.

Cari Cox, of Family Support Services, explains, "We do not want to make it about child abuse, our goal is to celebrate families," and that "we want families to recognize how instrumental they are in the development of children."

Cox also added that these events and resources aren't just for families but are equally aimed at caregivers.

The Child Abuse Prevention Committee has also arranged for pinwheels to be placed on the southwest corner of the Putnam County Courthouse lawn at noon March 31. The pinwheel is viewed as the "new national symbol for child abuse prevention" according to Pinwheels for Prevention, a national organization aimed at child abuse prevention.

In addition to the pinwheels, the "Blue Ribbon Tree" is another way for residents to show support. This year students from Old National Trail have volunteered to put up two blue ribbon trees, one located at City Hall and the other at the Putnam County Courthouse.

The Child Abuse Prevention Month Committee encourages any business or individual to participate in the blue ribbon practice.

All four school corporations have been asked to show support by participating in the blue ribbon tree practice, promote prevention messages on school marquis, and to display pinwheels.

A calendar of events was sent home with Putnam County elementary students the week before spring break and while there are events scheduled over the course of the entire month, many of the events have been scheduled over the week of March 24 to coincide with spring break.

For more information and events, please refer to the Child Abuse Prevention Month calendar that was sent home with students the week before spring break.

Members of the Child Abuse Prevention Month Committee include Putnam County Community Library, Old National Trail, Children's Bureau Inc., Johnson-Nichols Health Clinic, Dept. of Child Services, Mental Health America, Youth Development Commission, and Family Support Services.

Child Abuse Prevention Month partners include the City of Greencastle, Greencastle Parks and Recreation Dept., Putnam County Community Library, Old National Trail students, faculty, and staff; Putnam County 4-H Junior Leaders, Gobin United Methodist Church, Red Barn Farms, Ashley Square Cinema, Hope's Way, Banner Graphic and all four county school corporations.

For more information about Child Abuse Prevention Month or to learn more about resources and support systems available for families and caregivers, contact Cari Cox at Family Support Services at 720-1219.

If you suspect neglect or abuse, you may call the Indiana Dept. of Child Services at 1-800-800-5556.

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