April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. This is a good opportunity for us to reflect on the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse and neglect by promoting the social and emotional well being of children and families.
During the month of April, the Exchange Family Center joins the national call for increased awareness by encouraging Durham and surrounding communities to consider how to support families, provide education, and offer resources to improve well-being for all children. Let’s look at some important national child abuse prevention initiatives and how you can get involved and take action in your local community.
Child Abuse Prevention Milestones
To better understand the national conversation around child abuse prevention, let’s look at some of the biggest milestones we’ve passed. Even as we acknowledge our successes in this area we are mindful of the need for additional progress and continue to think about how we can play a role in parent support, advocating for children, and promoting education around protective factors.
Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) Signed into Law (1974)
The first Federal child protection legislation was signed into law by President Richard Nixon in January of 1974 and marks the beginning of a new national response to child abuse and neglect. The bill provided Federal funds to states for prevention, identification, and treatment programs. It also established the Office on Child Abuse and Neglect within the Child’s Bureau.
Today, CAPTA continues to set the bar laying out minimum standards for child maltreatment and supporting states’ prevention and intervention efforts.
April Proclaimed National Child Abuse Prevention Month (1983)
In April of 1983, President Ronald Reagan declared this month to be National Child Abuse Prevention Month. The National Center for Child Abuse and Neglect began coordinating activities at the Federal level including the creation and dissemination of information and promotional materials. For example, in 1984, print, radio, and TV public service announcements (PSA’s) put out by the center urged parents to “Take time out. Don’t take it out on your kid.”
This tradition of raising awareness continues to this day.
Blue Ribbon Campaign to Prevent Child Abuse (1989)
In 1989, a Virginian grandmother tied a blue ribbon around the antenna on her car as a tribute to her grandson who died as a result of abuse. She hoped her blue ribbon would raise awareness in her community about the tragedy of child abuse. While this was a beautiful example of taking action to draw attention to a serious issue, the blue ribbon also became a painful reminder of violence and abuse.
Today, the conversation around child abuse is moving in a more positive direction. Rather than considering the treatment of abuse only, we now recognize that prevention is the best defense for children.
Pinwheels Adopted as the New National Symbol for Child Abuse Prevention (2008)
Representing a commitment to change the conversation and focus on prevention efforts, Prevent Child Abuse America and it’s 50 state chapters declared the national symbol for child abuse prevention to be the pinwheel in 2008. The pinwheel represents hope and provides us with an uplifting reminder that we want all children to have great childhoods—hence the name of EFC’s Pinwheels Family Fun Day.
But this month of recognition is not about symbols. Our goal is always to transform awareness into action by creating community conversations and shedding light on our responsibility as adults to ensure all children grow up in safe, nurturing environments that foster healthy growth and development. Using pinwheels as a recognizable symbol gives us the opportunity to share stories about the work we do to educate parents and others about the Protective Factors that allow children to thrive.
In 2008, the Children’s Bureau also launched cooperative agreements to generate knowledge around the use of evidence-based home visits. This initiative paved the way for programs like The Family Support Program and others we offer free to families at EFC.
How You Can Get Involved
1. Take Part in Community Events
Join us for Pinwheels Family Fun Day on Sunday, April 28th: The Exchange Family Center’s family fun day and mini-golf tournament is the perfect way to support an important cause and have a great time while doing it! Bring the whole family to enjoy a day of play at Wheels Fun Park from noon to 6 pm. Event admission includes batting cages, mini golf, a trip through the maze, roller skating, and a go-kart ride! Get advance tickets here. Or you can buy tickets at the door.
Become a sponsor for Pinwheels: Sponsorship is a great way to support your local community and increase awareness about preventing child abuse and neglect. Options for sponsoring the event include Host Sponsorship, Rock and Roller Sponsorship, Checkered Flag Sponsorship, Magical Playroom Sponsorship, Home Run Sponsorship, Corner Pocket Sponsorship, and Tee Marker Sponsorship. For more information about becoming a sponsor follow this link. Thank you to our wonderful sponsors!
Sign up to volunteer at Pinwheels: Volunteering is a great way to get involved and show your support. EFC couldn’t pull off this event without the generous help of our volunteers. Volunteers do face painting, judge the limbo contest, monitor mini-golf, and generally make sure things go smoothly the day of the event. Here are our current volunteer opportunities. Thank you to our amazing volunteers!
2. Take to Social Media
Spread the word about Child Abuse Prevention efforts this month and throughout the year.
Share with your family and friends on social media.
Sign up for newsletters and alerts about the cause, so you can share local and national campaigns with your network.
Consider whether other organizations you belong to would help to spread the word.
Tell your story! The story of your connection with friends, co-workers, and neighbors matters! So snap a photo and share how you’re making a positive difference in your community.
3. Get Your Kids First License Plate
Raise awareness on the roads with a Kids First License Plate! A portion of the Kids First specialty plate fee goes back into community programs across North Carolina that help prevent child abuse and neglect. Visit payments.ncdot.gov to purchase your Kids First Specialty License plate.
We can’t wait to see all of the amazing community support during Pinwheels Family Fun Day and beyond! All of us working together can make a difference. Let’s show the kids and families in our lives that we’re here and we’re listening.