April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and the pinwheel is the national symbol for preventing child abuse in the same way the pink ribbon represents breast cancer awareness. Girl Scout troop 3785 and some of their family members planted pinwheels at St. Mary’s Hospital on Monday, April 9thto raise awareness about child abuse. They joined others close to home and around the state in a national program sponsored by Idaho Children’s Trust Fund. Clearwater Valley Hospital in Orofino, the Kamiah Medical Clinic and the Grangeville Medical Clinic also planted pinwheel gardens this month.
“Raising awareness about child abuse and neglect strengthens communities and builds support for children and families in the effort to prevent child abuse,” said Roger Sherman, Executive Director of Idaho Children’s Trust Fund.
Talk about it, Talk about it, Talk about it. That's one strategy for preventing child abuse and neglect according to the Idaho Children’s Trust Fund. While awareness needs to go on every day of the year, the month of April is set aside as Child Abuse Prevention month.
The purpose of the Idaho Children’s Trust Fund is to Strength Families to Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect. “We believe that Idaho’s children are the state’s greatest assets. Today’s children are the leaders of tomorrow. We hold their future in our hands, and our future is in their hands. Too many children suffer abuse and neglect at the hands of parents and caretakers who should be nurturing them instead.”
Children who are abused and neglected often experience problems later in life involving juvenile and adult crime, poor academic performance, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, teen pregnancy, poor physical health, and even suicide. The effects of child abuse and neglect are wide and far-reaching.
Preventing abuse and neglect is critical to minimizing the costs of long term intervention for crime, corrections, truancy, hospitalization, special education, physical health care, and mental health care.
“Any parent or caregiver who is becoming increasingly frustrated with the child’s behavior should reach out. There are people or agencies to call who are in a position to help,” said Cheri Holthaus SMH Community Relations Coordinator. “Idaho Careline is a program of the Idaho Department of Health and Wealth, it is a free statewide community information and referral service; 1-800-926-2588. To get emotional support from a trained advocate and become empowered and a stronger parent call the National Parent Helpline at 1-855-427-2736. Also SMH is a resource and is staffed 24/7, just asked for someone in the OB department. No one should feel alone and unsupported.”
Girl Scout Troop 3785 and some of their family members pose after planting Pinwheels for Prevention; front row: Siara Chaffee, Madison Shears, Trinity Martinez, Jose Ramacle, Savannah Crosby, Leanne Lightfield; back row: Rachel Gimmeson and Cody Crosby