Across the country, April is recognized as Child Abuse Prevention Month.
State and local agencies and concerned citizens all work toward the common purpose of preventing child abuse and deliver a powerful, collective message about the importance of protecting children, supporting families and strengthening communities.
At a recent Greenbrier County Commission meeting, CASA Executive Director Jenny Castle asked the county commissioners to proclaim April as Child abuse Prevention Month. During her presentations, Castle reported that it is a common misconception that child abuse is something that happens in other places and to other children. Unfortunately, she said, West Virginia is not immune to cases of child abuse and neglect. Every hour a child in West Virginia is abused or neglected.
In collaboration with Children’s Home Society, Family Refuge Center, Davis Stuart and the CYAC, Castle also had two more requests for the county commission: first, to allow this committee to promote Child Abuse and Prevention Month by displaying the child abuse prevention pinwheels on the court house lawn from Apr. 24 – May 5. The pinwheels will represent the number of children served by each of the programs represented above; one pinwheel per seven children (approximately 400 pinwheels). As the new symbol for child abuse and neglect prevention, the pinwheel is an uplifting reminder of childhood and the bright futures all children deserve.
Secondly, the committee requested to hold a Children’s Memorial Flag Day Ceremony on Friday, Apr. 28, at noon in front of the courthouse that includes flying the flag from Apr. 28 through May 5. In 1998, CWLA launched a public awareness campaign to direct attention to the tragedy of violent child deaths as part of a national initiative to reduce child mortality. The centerpiece is simple – a red flag depicting blue, paper-doll-like figures of children holding hands. In the center, the white chalk outline of a missing child symbolizes the thousands of children lost to violence. Created by a 16-year-old student in Alameda County, CA, and flown on the fourth Friday in April, the Children’s Memorial Flag honors each lost child and raises public awareness about the continuing problem of violence against children.
The ceremony will not only be a reminder to the children who did not survive the child abuse they suffered but will also be a chance to promote safety and wellbeing of all of our children. Two individuals within our county will be honored due to their advocacy and support to children who have been abused and neglected by helping them attain brighter futures. The committee is hopeful with these collaborative efforts to make all Greenbrier County citizens aware of the serious crisis throughout the nation.
Both requests were approved by the county commissioners who also thanked Castle and the other agencies for “fighting the fight” and helping local children.
Castle also announced, in addition to the Children’s Memorial Flag Ceremonies, the collaboration will kick off Child abuse Prevention Month by holding a candlelight march on Apr. 3 at 7 p.m. the to raise awareness and prevention of child abuse. The march will start at the Greenbrier Valley Children’s Home (331 7th Street, Rupert,) and march the main street of Rupert. Marchers are asked to wear blue. Castle added she would like all Greenbrier County Citizens to wear blue every Friday in April to support the efforts of preventing child abuse and neglect.
If you have any questions or would like to know how you can help our local abused and neglected children, contact CASA, Children’s Home Society, CYAC, Davis Stuart or the Family Refuge Center.