Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

April 6, 2013

‘Child Abuse Prevention Month’ focuses on universal problem

From Staff Reports
Corsicana Daily Sun

Corsicana — April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time to focus on the protection and care of our most vulnerable and trusting resources – our children.

Child Abuse Prevention Month has been observed each April since its first presidential proclamation in 1983. Since that time, individuals and organizations have joined during April to raise the public’s awareness of child abuse and its prevention.

In Navarro County, local officials are planning special events to focus on the problem and educate the public on ways it can help.

Navarro County’s Court Appointed Special Advocates — CASA — has teamed up with the Navarro County Child Welfare Board for several special activities over the next two weeks in observance of the month.

On Monday, the grounds of the Navarro County Courthouse will be decorated with approximately 500 blue pin wheels, said Jenny Bratton of CASA.

“Instead of using crosses the way we have for several years, we decided to switch over to pin wheels,” Bratton said, saying the pin wheel symbolizes the happiness of a child. Bratton said the use of the pin wheel is gaining popularity in many communities in connection with the month.

“We wanted to do something more positive, more ‘friendly,’” added Stephanie Elkins of the Child Welfare Board. “It’s to promote that there are children out there that need to be adopted and need loving homes.”

Banners will also be placed on the courthouse grounds drawing attention to the month, and efforts to support and protect children.

The banners carry the message of “Stand Up for Children — There is no excuse for child abuse”

The courthouse display will remain on display for two weeks.

“It’s to make people aware of Child Abuse Prevention Month and to share the message that Navarro County does not tolerate people who are abusing children,” she said.

Another element of the local planning is taking place April 14, when local churches will join with the agency to participate in “Blue Ribbon Sunday” — passing out blue ribbons and information about Child Abuse Prevention Month.

The “Blue Ribbon” campaign began in 1989 following the murder of a child in Virginia, Bratton explained. The movement is now nationally recognized.

Blue Ribbon Sunday will also inlcude a short prayer by the congregations, praying for abused children, for parents, and prayers for abusers to end their cycle of abusing children.

On Monday, April 15, the annual “Heart Gallery” will be held at Navarro College’s Cook Center from 5 to 7 p.m., showcasing pictures and profiles of children from throughout North Texas who are available for adoption. The evening will also feature some special guest speakers.

“We’ll have a child who has gone ‘through the system’ who is now an adult and was adopted just before becoming an adult,” Bratton explained. Her message is one of hope, and of not giving up on being adopted, Bratton said.

Also speaking will be local adoptive parents Jason and Natalie White, talking about their experiences as adoptive parents, and how it has enriched their lives.

Bratton relayed the story of a couple who attended a Heart Gallery event who went on to apply to become adoptive parents themselves.

“I would do a hundred Heart Gallery events if we could get one person each time,” Bratton said. “That would be enough for me to make it worthwhile doing.”

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Bob Belcher may be reached by email at bbelcher@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “Soundoff” on this story? Email: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com