Nearly three dozen children are abused every day in Iowa and the month of April is set aside to raise awareness about the problem. Sara Welch, spokesperson for Prevent Child Abuse Iowa, says many communities will be taking part in activities to highlight what residents can do to support prevention efforts. “Throughout the state you’ll see people planting pinwheel gardens, you’ll see family resource fairs, and you’ll see people just trying to engage the community in this effort,” Welch said.
The month of April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. According to the most recent data available, just over 11,700 kids were abused in Iowa in 2011. That was down slightly from 2010. The organization Prevent Child Abuse Iowa has been in existence since 1975. “We are currently in 95 counties throughout Iowa providing services such as crisis care nursery and parent support groups,” Welch said. “We’re doing parent development — where an educator is going into the home and actually working with the family and helping them connect with resources and monitor their child’s development.”
Some of the organization’s special events planned this month include a “family night” at the Science Center of Iowa in Des Moines on April 12 and $5 tickets to an Iowa Cubs game on April 29. “For all those events, we’re going to be handing out pinwheels – which, for us, is a symbol of the happy childhood that every child deserves. We’re going to have parenting information, community resources, and we’ll just providing a lot of fun activities for families and getting the community out to show their support,” Welch said.
Here in Cass County, as we mentioned in a report last month, the Cass County Child Abuse Prevention Council will hold community “Lunch and Learn” sessions from Noon until 1-p.m., on April 11th and 25th, at the Atlantic Public Library. The April 11th program will be presented by Sarah Herzberg, with Southwest Iowa Mental Health. It’s entitled “Raising children in a violent world,” and includes a free reading program, for children ages three and older. The April 25th program “Children learn what they live,” will be presented by Billie Jo Clausen, from the Green Hills Area Education Agency.
More information about Prevent Child Abuse Iowa is available at www.pcaiowa.org or by calling 1-800-CHILDREN.
(Radio Iowa/KJAN News)