April is child abuse prevention month, and while we are child abuse defense attorneys, we are also parents. We love our families and would be thrilled if all children could be loved and cared for. We are only too aware, however, that this isn’t the case. So while the focus of our work is ensuring that parent’s rights are protected, false allegations are revealed for what they really are, and families are kept intact wherever possible, we also understand that child abuse is a very real tragedy in our society.
In Michigan, child abuse awareness is raised all over the state during April, by a number of events, functions, and campaigns. On April 27th, there will be a Prevention Awareness Day (PrAD) rally held on the steps of the Capitol Building here in Lansing. The rally is being held in recognition of Child Abuse Prevention (CAP) Month, and to show support and celebrate our state’s children and families.
Keep a look out as you are out driving around his month, and you are likely to see blue pinwheels pinned to people’s clothes, and fluttering en masse in the gardens of churches, businesses and libraries across the state. In some places blue ribbons are tied to trees to help remind us that children’s lives are at stake.
According to the Pinwheels for Prevention, they chose the pinwheel in 2008 as the national symbol for child abuse prevention. “…people respond to the pinwheel. By its very nature, the pinwheel connotes whimsy and childlike notions. In essence, it has come to serve as the physical embodiment, or reminder, of the great childhoods we want for all children.”
In addition to ways in which communities come together to raise awareness, state government is also involved in making child abuse prevention a priority. “The Power of One” is an ongoing statewide initiative under the leadership of the Children’s Trust Fund, which is highlighted during April. It asserts that the power of one person, one community, one dollar, one action, will help to protect children from abuse and neglect.
One of the things we believe is very important about child abuse prevention efforts across Michigan during this month, is that the focus is on Prevention. Specifically, this refers to efforts made to help and support struggling families in the community before situations reach a critical level, where desperation can sometimes lead to abuse. Prevention is about reaching out, and lending a helping hand. It isn’t about pointing fingers, passing blame, and tearing families apart during times of hardship.
According to the Children’s Trust Fund, these are a few of the ways that we can make a difference in our communities, to prevent child abuse and help families:
- Be a friend to a parent you know. Ask how their children are doing. If a parent seems to be struggling, offer to babysit, run errands, or lend a friendly ear.
- If you or someone you know feels overwhelmed by the demands of parenting, call Parent Awareness Michigan (PAM) at 1-800-968-4968 for information about family support resources in your community or visit www.preventionnetwork.org to find parenting resources managed by PAM.
- Donate clothing, furniture, and toys to another family. This can relieve the financial stress that families may experience.
- Make a financial charitable contribution to a cause which will support families and children. Each $1 donation can make a difference.
As the Children’s Trust Fund points out, “No one person can do everything, but everyone can do something. And together, we can do anything!“