NEW YORK, April 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- With looming budget cuts adding more stress to a child welfare safety net already stretched precariously thin, The New York Foundling, one of the City's oldest and largest child welfare agencies, is launching a multi-pronged public awareness campaign to enlist the public's help in recognizing Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Through the work of The Foundling's Vincent J. Fontana Center for Child Protection, the only Center of its kind in the nation housed within a child welfare agency, The Foundling will educate the public on its role in helping to protect our children, and complement the Center's year-round commitment to advancing the field of child abuse prevention.
The campaign includes:
- a pinwheel garden planting at Christopher Park on April 1st, where Foundling staff will distribute informational brochures;
- a retail campaign in which local merchants will ask customers to sign "Promises for Prevention" and proclaim their support for children and families in their communities;
- a viral campaign on The Foundling's Facebook® page;
- public tours of The Fontana Center's educational exhibit on the history and signs of child abuse;
- public service announcements on a variety of radio stations;
- a Child Abuse Prevention Program (CAPP) puppet show that teaches children in The Foundling's care the difference between "safe touch" and "unsafe touch";
- distribution of educational materials that can be downloaded from The Foundling's website, www.nyfoundling.org, or picked up during tabling events outside of the Fontana Center. Materials include a brochure on the warning signs of child abuse and activity calendars for parents and professionals who work with children and families.
"This is something we focus on around the clock, every day, citywide, but we can't do it alone," said Bill Baccaglini, The Foundling's Executive Director. "We are asking the community for help in supporting the most vulnerable families among us to help ensure our children feel loved, supported and protected. We are reminding people there are many ways to praise our kids."
"Community education is a critical component of The Fontana Center's work to advance the field of child abuse prevention," said Chuck Caputo, the Center's Director. "We are using the national declaration of April as Child Abuse Prevention Month to remind parents, educators, caregivers -- and children -- that recognition and reporting abuse is everyone's job. This campaign will give them the tools to do it. Our work to protect children is ongoing – at The Fontana Center, Child Abuse Prevention Month is recognized 12 times a year."
The Foundling highlights the following signs of abuse:
- Scratches, bruises, welts, cuts, unexplained burns
- Fear of adults
- Drug and/or alcohol abuse
- Apathy, depression or extreme behavior
- Unsuitable clothing for weather
- Appearance of being dirty or unbathed
- Lack of attachment to parent
- Behavior that is inappropriately adult or inappropriately infantile
To download a brochure detailing the signs of child abuse and learn more about The Foundling's Child Abuse Prevention Month efforts, visit www.nyfoundling.org/capm.
To report a harmed child, or a child who may be at risk of harm, contact The New York State Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-342-3720.
About The New York Foundling
Founded as a home for abandoned children, The New York Foundling has been saving children, preserving families and building communities since 1869. The Foundling's diverse network of programs works interactively to provide care for families with multiple social, economic, medical, and psychological needs. In the tradition of openness and compassion of its sponsors, the Sisters of Charity, the agency cares for more than 13,000 people each year in the New York City area and in Puerto Rico as it upholds its guiding principle: Abandon No One.
SOURCE The New York Foundling