Child abuse prevention is still as important as ever

Tuesday, April 19, 2016 at 6:08 pm

Via Brunswick Beacon:

Nearly five children in the United States die every day as a result of child abuse, according to Childhelp, a national organization dedicated to child abuse prevention. Childhelp’s position, and ours, is any number is too many.

Brunswick County has not escaped this terrible problem. Just two months ago, a Leland man was charged in an updated indictment related to the death of a 15-month-old boy he is accused of killing last year.

The same “even one is too many” concept applies to the number of children who are or have been abused, but survive. Again, our community is not immune: At the start of the year, a Supply couple was arrested on multiple felony child sex abuse charges.

Every child deserves to grow up healthy, strong, innocent and free from the fear of physical and emotional abuse.

Every adult, even those who are not parents, can help this cause. The observance of April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month serves to remind us of this fact.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Child Abuse Prevention Month is a time to acknowledge the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse and neglect, and to promote the social and emotional well-being of children and families. The year 2016 is significant toward this goal because it marks the 40th anniversary of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act.

Last week, Leland police established a pinwheel garden in the grass in front of town hall to promote awareness of child abuse prevention. Lt. Jeremy Humphries said the department decided to participate in the program after learning of it through Leanne Graham at the Lake Waccamaw Boys and Girls Homes, which will host the fourth annual Light the Lake walk for child abuse prevention at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 26.

The Brunswick County Cooperative Extension and Department of Social Services have also paired up to create a pinwheel garden by the walking trail at the county complex in Bolivia for the same reason. More pinwheels can be purchased to support the campaign for $1 each from Alicia Jenkins at the extension office or from the DSS office Friday, April 22.

“Pinwheels are increasingly being used to help educate communities about the importance of supporting children and families,” Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina says, noting nearly 3.5 million pinwheels have been distributed and displayed nationwide for the cause since April 2008. “Shining in the sun, the pinwheel is reflective of the bright future all children deserve and our belief that getting it right early is less costly than trying to fix it later.”

The extension and DSS also are planting a flower garden of blue, the color representing child abuse awareness prevention, at noon Wednesday, April 27.

“In support of local campaign efforts, educational materials for parents and advocates are available this month to prevent child abuse,” county extension support specialist Gina Britton wrote. “The fact is, when we invest in healthy child development, we are ultimately investing in community and economic development.” We cannot agree more.

Prevention begins with awareness and leads to action. To take action, call the DSS office at 253-2077 and ask how you can help.