April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and Dayton Children’s Hospital is taking steps to both recognize and prevent child abuse in the greater Dayton community.
Nearly 1,000 children rely on Dayton Children’s CARE House, Montgomery County’s advocacy center for child victims of abuse and neglect, every year, and hundreds more depend on Michael’s House in Greene County and the Child Advocacy Center of Warren County. These children require assistance for their medical, psychological, legal, and/or social services.
Throughout the pandemic, the number of reported child abuse cases has gone down and that may be misleading. Typically, this would be something to celebrate. But, the fear is that the numbers are down because those who typically report suspicions of abuse –pediatricians, teachers, coaches, child care providers – aren’t seeing children every day.
“It takes a village to protect a child. And, that couldn’t be truer than it is today,” said Libby Nicholson, director of CARE House. “Anytime, whether it’s during a pandemic or not, that you believe that a child may be at risk of abuse you need to report it. Whether you hear noises that suggest a child is being injured or cries for help or a variety of things that would suggest a child might be at risk. Everybody is responsible for reporting child abuse.”
This month, Dayton Children’s is working with community partners to plant “pinwheel gardens” as symbols of hope and the carefree existence all children should be able to experience.
Pinwheel gardens represent Dayton Children’s effort to focus on community activities that support families, and public policies that prioritize prevention right from the start to ensure child abuse and neglect never occur.
To participate in the pinwheel garden, download your own printable pinwheel that you can display to show your support for this vital cause by visiting https://www.childrensdayton.org/events/child-abuse-prevention-month