Zionsville Times Sentinel

April 2, 2014

Boone County recognizes Child Abuse Prevention Month April 8

Staff Report
Zionsville Times Sentinel

---- — Communities across the state will gather together simultaneously for Pinwheels for Prevention ceremonies on April 8, marking the need to prevent child abuse in Indiana.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, as proclaimed by Indiana Governor Mike Pence. The governor will kick off the Marion County ceremony at the Indiana State House.

On April 8, a special Pinwheels for Prevention garden will be planted at 7:30 p.m. on the front lawn of Centenary United Methodist Church, Lebanon. Following will be a short ceremony highlighting the importance of child abuse prevention efforts in the Boone County. Juvenile Court Judge Jeffery Edens, representatives from Centenary United Methodist, First Presbyterian Church, and the Department of Child Services will make short remarks.

Statewide, the DCS is working with local Prevent Child Abuse Indiana councils, court-appointed special advocates (CASAs) as well as other child advocacy groups and local officials, to unite families, neighbors, professionals and policy-makers in the concerted effort to identify and address the issues that lead to abuse or neglect.

“This is about unity and solidarity in making children a priority,” said Jaclyn Allemon, local office director.

By the time children come into the DCS system, they’re already victims of abuse or neglect, Allemon added. “We need all eyes and ears in the community reporting child abuse and neglect, but equally important, we need everyone — from families and extended families to neighbors and friends — working together to prevent child abuse.”

Lebanon Police Officer Brad Bailey, who is the president of Prevent Child Abuse in Boone County, says their organization sees the root causes everyday of child abuse as Prevent Child Abuse Indiana works with families.

“Parenting is hard enough,” Bailey said, “but when families are also struggling with basic survival needs like food, shelter and keeping the lights on, it can create stress and hopelessness that escalates into child abuse.”

DCS, child advocacy groups and local government officials understand the realities that can lead to family crises.

“Child abuse prevention is a cause that should mobilize our communities to blend our resources, talents and efforts in order to protect vulnerable children,” Allemon added. “There is tremendous work being done to protect our children in the State of Indiana, but there is always opportunity for each of us to do more.”

There are currently 53 children being served in Boone County by DCS.