Pinwheels For Child Abuse Prevention
By Katlyn Reece
(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) – While many area children grow up safe and happy, case workers say that child abuse and neglect is a very real problem in southeast Indiana.
Currently, there are 102 children in Dearborn and Ohio counties being served by the Indiana Department of Child Services. As of last year, the Child Advocacy Center of Southeastern Indiana had served more than 1,200 children in investigating such cases since 2009.
Suzzi Romines, a local representative of Prevent Child Abuse Indiana, says the organization sees the root causes of child abuse every day in working with families.
“Parenting is hard enough, 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,” said Romines.
To raise awareness of the issue across the state, Governor Mike Pence has proclaimed April be designated as Child Abuse Prevention Month. Indiana will mark the event with pinwheel ceremonies and displays in communities statewide.
One of the ceremonies will take place Tuesday, April 8 at 7:30 p.m. at Newtown Park in Lawrenceburg. The short ceremony will highlight the importance of child abuse prevention efforts in the country. Circuit Court Judge James D. Humphrey and representatives from the Indiana Department of Child Services will speak. A local youth choir will also perform.
A similar event will be held by IDCS officials in Ripley County at the same date and time. It will be located at the Ripley County Courthouse Square in Versailles.
“This is about unity and solidarity in making children a priority,” said Sandra Ante of IDCS serving Dearborn County. She believes that communities should blend their resources, talents, and efforts in order to protect vulnerable children.
IDCS makes protecting children from abuse and neglect a priority. Ideally, affected children are kept at home with their families while IDCS offers appropriate support services.
“There is tremendous work being done to protect our children in the State of Indiana, but there is always the opportunity for each of us to do more,” said Michelle Smith with the IDCS in Ohio County. ”We need all eyes and ears in the community reporting child abuse and neglect, but equally important, we need everyone working together to prevent child abuse,”
Anybody aware of a child in danger is urged to call the Indiana Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 800-800-5556.