April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and it reminds us all why child safety matters!
The month of April is a time to celebrate spring, warmer weather, and vacations. April is also Child Abuse Prevention Month and a time for all of us to remember why Child Safety Matters.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are close to four million reports of child abuse each year in the U.S. However, because we know much abuse goes unreported, the number of children abused and neglected is actually much higher.
Child Abuse Prevention month began in the early 1980s. Congress recognized the disturbingly high rate at which children in our country were abused and neglected and they saw the need for more to be done to prevent child abuse. They resolved that the week of June 6-12, 1982 would be designated as the first National Child Abuse Prevention Week. The following year, in 1983, April was proclaimed the first National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Since then, advocates around the US have conducted child abuse awareness and prevention activities every April.
Although the symbols and activities may change, their purpose remains, to bring awareness to the devastating impact on children’s lives. An early and enduring symbol of child abuse prevention is the blue ribbon. The Blue Ribbon had its early beginnings in 1989 when a Virginia grandmother tied a blue ribbon to the antenna of her car as a tribute to her grandson who died as a result of abuse. This was her way to honor him and bring awareness about his tragic story and the overall problem of child abuse. The Blue Ribbon Campaign has since expanded across the country, and remains a symbol of child abuse prevention today.
More recently, the pinwheel has become a symbol of child abuse prevention. It began as a grassroots campaign among Prevent Child Abuse state chapters in Georgia, Florida and Ohio as “Pinwheels for Prevention,” and has since become a national symbol for child abuse and neglect prevention. The pinwheel reminds us that all children deserve the chance for healthy, happy, and full lives.
This month is a good time for each of us to remember how important children are and to remember why child safety should matter to each of us. It’s also a good time to remember that there are things each one of us can do to promote awareness and prevention as well. As Edward Everett Hale said, “I am only one, but I am still one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”
Throughout 2017, the Monique Burr Foundation for Children is celebrating our twentieth year of protecting children. We work hard every month of the year to prevent abuse, but this month we are proud to be doing a few extra things to raise awareness:
- MBF is sending a lesson plan to every public elementary school in Florida to help teach students, parents, and staff about child abuse, and how they can help stop it. Three different posters will accompany the lesson plans for schools.
- MBF team members will be attending a conference hosted by the Child Protection Team on April 20 – 21. The conference is designed to educate professionals working in the law enforcement, medical, and child advocacy fields with the latest research and techniques to recognize, investigate, and treat child abuse victims. MBF is proud to sponsor this professional development conference for attendees from across Florida.
- MBF will also host our own conference on April 28th this year. At the conference, we will be training prevention and outreach staff from Child Advocacy Centers (CAC) across Florida to implement our MBF Child Safety Matters program in partnership with their local schools. We are thrilled so many CAC’s have registered and will be joining us to take the program back to their own communities and help us protect children in schools across Florida.
There are also things you can do to help protect children. Here are some ideas for things you can do to promote child abuse prevention awareness this month:
- Learn how to better protect your own children or the children in your life. Start with the MBF website (www.mbfchildsafetymatters.org) to access online training courses and additional resources to help you learn more. You can also download our “Child Safety Matters” app at no cost from the App Store or Google Play, and like, follow, pin, and share our social media resources.
- Learn more about our MBF Child Safety Matters Prevention Education Programs and what you can do to help us get this critical safety information to adults and children by visiting our website.
- Wear a blue ribbon or display a blue ribbon or pinwheel on your social media sites, websites or property. When someone asks, tell them what the blue ribbon or pinwheel means, and why child safety matters to you.
- Make a donation or purchase tickets to attend our upcoming Night At Roy’s event. Our most immediate need to better protect children is funding. Help us celebrate our twentieth year of protecting children by visiting www.ANightAtRoys.com to purchase tickets.