Education and awareness crucial in preventing child abuse

GRAFTON—Seen as a symbol of whimsy, playfulness and joy, pinwheels are the perfect reminder of the carefree days of childhood. And as such, the Taylor County Partners in Prevention uses them as a physical reminder of the happiness hoped for all children.

However, according to reports, approximately three million children are abused and neglected across the United States each year, and officials believe that those numbers could be lessened with effective prevention programs.

Annually, the Taylor County Family Resources and their Partners in Prevention, spearhead a community-wide campaign geared at educating and bringing awareness to child abuse through their Pinwheels for Prevention program. 

The dazzling blue and silver pinwheels are popping up around Taylor County as a reminder of the importance of education and awareness of child abuse.

Pinwheels for Prevention, a nation-wide campaign, provides an opportunity everyone, individuals and organizations alike, to take action by learning more about prevention, supporting children, the array of family friendly policies and services available, as well as volunteering at the local, state and national levels.

Through their efforts of supporting children with family friendly policies and services, as well as volunteering efforts at the local, state and national levels, individuals can come together to help make a difference in the lives of youngsters.

No matter what people do in life, there is almost always a way to link it to somehow affecting a child.  

Whether it is through a job where an employee interacts with a child, a family member giving parents a much-needed break or an employer working with a parent’s schedule to assist with the delicate balance of work and life, there are many ways to impact a child’s life.

“When we actively support children and parents by understanding stressors, offering loving and supportive environments, helping with resources in times of crisis, connecting community members with others going through the same stage of life we ensure will children grow up happy and safe, productive contributing adults,” expressed Cathy Coontz, Taylor County Family Resources Executive Director.

She shared that she believes that every day is a call to action and an opportunity for everyone to recognize the role they play in a child’s life. 

Because April is designated as Child Abuse Prevention Month, the team calls on the community to band together to recognize that every child is important and deserves a life filled with happy childhood memories.

To help commemorate the month, the organization gathers every April with community members to acknowledge the importance of Child Abuse Prevention.

Each April, Taylor County’s Partners in Prevention come together with community members to recognize Child Abuse Prevention Month, with the special ceremony. This year, they welcomed individuals to a special flag raising ceremony, followed by an ice cream social during April’s First Friday festivities.

During the event, a proclamation declaring April 2022 as Child Abuse and Prevention Awareness Month in Grafton was read. The document cited child abuse as a community problem, stating that “finding solutions depends on involvement among people throughout the community.”

“Child Abuse Prevention Month is a perfect time for us to discuss with families and other citizens the importance of child abuse awareness and prevention,” Coontz expressed. “Every person is a resource and is capable of helping to impact the issue in a positive way.”

She shared that there are numerous steps individuals can take to help shed light on this serious issue. 

“Partnerships need to be created between social service entities, law enforcement agencies, schools, churches and civic organizations, as well as local businesses and non-profits to help combat the ever-growing issue that is child abuse,” Coontz voiced. “More now than ever it is important to learn what we can do to help prevent child abuse. Currently, the number one form of child abuse is neglect. We feel it is important to remember that every child deserves a carefree childhood, filled with happy memories.”

For more information, please contact the Taylor County Family Resources by phone at 304-265-6838, or reach out to one of the Partners in Prevention organizations, which include the WV DHHR, the PATCH Coalition of Taylor County, Burlington United Methodist Family Services, the HAPI Project, Unicare and the GFWC WV Woman’s Club of Grafton.


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