El Paso County, CO, April 6, 2017 – The Board of El Paso County Commissioners at its regular meeting Tuesday recognized April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month with a Proclamation.
County officials and other volunteers “planted” a pinwheel garden outside of Centennial Hall in downtown Colorado Springs on Thursday morning following the regular meeting to highlight efforts to prevent child abuse and neglect.
“Child abuse and neglect is a nationwide problem that is preventable when parents, families, communities and government work together to advocate for caring and safe environments for all children,” said President Pro Tem Mark Waller as he read the Proclamation into the record. “Effective child abuse prevention efforts, such as the Not One More Child Coalition, succeed because of the partnerships created among human service agencies, public health, the District Attorney’s Office, schools, faith and civic organizations, the medical community, law enforcement and first responder agencies, the business community and concerned citizens.”
Commissioners shared their gratitude for the efforts to prevent child abuse and neglect. “Thank you for everything you do to protect those that are most vulnerable,” said Commissioner Littleton.
The El Paso County Department of Human Services (DHS) received more than 15,500 reports of child abuse and neglect in 2016, more than any other County in Colorado. The department answered more than 27,000 calls to the abuse and neglect reporting hotline. Of the abuse and neglect calls reported, 6,168 were assigned to case workers for assessment. “Case workers are first responders, so it is important that we recognize the good work they do,” said DHS Executive Director Julie Krow.
Representatives from community partners shared their thanks to Commissioners for the opportunity to highlight child abuse prevention efforts.
“CASA contributes to our shared obligation to prevent child abuse and neglect by creating positive change in the lives of vulnerable children,” said Jill McCormick, Life Long Links Senior Manager, (CASA) of the Pikes Peak Region. “We are honored to work with the many dedicated child welfare professionals in our county.”
About a hundred pinwheels were planted in front of Centennial Hall on Thursday, April 6. Prevent Child Abuse America in 2008 introduced the pinwheel as the national symbol for child abuse prevention through Pinwheels for Prevention. The pinwheels serve as reminders of the great childhoods desired for all children.
“Prevention is so important,” said Commissioner Stan VanderWerf. “This is a great way to raise awareness in the entire community.”
The governing bodies of Colorado Springs, Monument, Fountain and Manitou Springs also approved Proclamations recognizing April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Later in April, a permanent piece of art will be installed at the Citizens Service Center Building on Garden of the Gods Road. The giant pinwheel is a collaborative effort involved the county and several local businesses.
“Giving back to the community is something we always want to do,” said Danny Rial, president of the Pikes Peak Mechanical Contractors Association. “PPMCA is honored to work on this project.”
On April 20, the Not One More Child coalition and the Department of Human Services are the featured nonprofit at the Sky Sox baseball game. Pinwheels will be given to children attending the game, which starts at 6:40 p.m.
April is also National County Government Month, highlighting the critical role Counties play in keeping communities healthy, vibrant, and safe, especially through the protection of children, its most vulnerable citizens.
“Preventing child abuse and neglect is a community effort,” said former Commissioner Sallie Clark and co-chair of the Not One More Child coalition. “It’s those who are doing the work every day that deserve our thanks and gratitude.”
Public Information Officer
El Paso County Department of Human Services
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