April is Child Abuse Prevention Month
By Kristy Bock
From July 2016 through June 2017, more than 121,000 cases of child abuse and neglect were investigated in North Carolina by the Department of Social Services. Almost 70 percent of the reports made were from teachers, nurses, court staff and law enforcement, while 30 percent of reports were from friends, family members and child care providers. (https://www.chsnc.org/about/news/121000-investigated-cases-child-abuse-neglect-north-carolina/)
Colleen F. Kosinski, a Guardian ad Litem District Administrator of the Eighth Judicial District, said child abuse and neglect are now at epidemic levels nationwide. It is critical that every citizen become a part in protecting children.
North Carolina is a state that makes it mandatory that anyone who even suspects a child is abused or neglected must report their suspicions to their local DSS. The department then investigates and takes necessary steps to support the family and protect the child. It is critical we all take responsibility in protecting our state’s must vulnerable resource: our children. Social service agencies cannot do it alone.
Throughout the month of April, there will be local events to bring awareness and give the community opportunities to volunteer and help drive change.
The upcoming events Include:
Today: Annual flag-raising ceremony — Greene County DSS
Wednesday: Child Abuse Prevention Month kickoff — Lenoir County Courthouse atrium
April 10: Child Abuse Forum — Kinston Boys and Girls Club
April 11: Community Awareness Day — Greene County DSS
April 17: Candlelight vigil — Greene County Courthouse
April 28: Child Abuse Day – Grainger Stadium
Kosinski said the event on Wednesday at the Lenoir County Courthouse Atrium will be visual and powerful. She also shared her department did an art contest with the Boys and Girls Club. The winners of the art contest will be given a family pass to the Down East Wood Ducks game on April 28 and will get to throw out the first pitch.
Throughout North Carolina, there will be events going on in the month of April to raise awareness for child abuse. The Department of Transportation has “Kid First” license plates available with a portion of the proceeds going to community programs to help prevent child abuse and neglect.
Pinwheel gardens are being planted throughout the state’s community gardens to increase awareness. Anyone interested a pinwheel garden can order them at https://www.preventchildabusenc.org/.