HARRISBURG, Pa., April 5, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Margarita Torres Leon, the grandmother of a 2-year-old fatal child abuse victim, is scheduled to be among the speakers at a ceremony Wednesday, April 6, in the Capitol to mark Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Torres Leon's granddaughter, Darisabel Baez of York, died in 2008 after being horrifically beaten by the boyfriend of the child's mother. The boyfriend was convicted in the death and sentenced to death. Torres will talk about the incident and the need for child abuse prevention.
The event is being event organized by the Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance (PFSA) as part of its observance of Child Abuse Prevention Month.
More than 25,300 cases of suspected abuse were reported in Pennsylvania in 2009 and 43 children died from abuse. Reports of child abuse occurred in all 67 counties of Pennsylvania—urban, suburban, and rural.
PFSA said state Sen. Kim Ward of Westmoreland County and state Rep. Harry Readshaw of Allegheny County, would take part in the 10 a.m. ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda to officially proclaim April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. In addition, Cathy Utz, acting deputy secretary of the Office of Children, Youth and Families in the state Department of Public Welfare (DPW), and Angela Logan, policy director for DPW, would provide remarks and present the governor's proclamation of Child Abuse Prevention Month.
"We believe an event of this kind, though largely symbolic, is important in reminding Pennsylvanians about the serious problem of child abuse—a problem that, unfortunately, occurs in all corners of our Commonwealth and often under the noses of people who are unaware that it's happening," PFSA Executive Director Angela Liddle said.
PFSA provides training on recognizing and reporting suspected child abuse and neglect through schools, early childhood education centers, religious institutions, and social service agencies.
Last year it trained nearly 8,000 individuals who work with or around children in how to recognize and report suspected child abuse.
PFSA also announced earlier this year that it has become the Pennsylvania sponsor of The Front Porch Project®, a community-based training initiative that educates the general public about how to protect children from abuse.
"Awareness is important. Training for professionals who work with children and education for communities are even more important," Liddle said.
PFSA also works with more than 50 affiliate agencies across Pennsylvania to provide information, educational materials, and programs that teach and support good parenting practices.
As part of its awareness-raising efforts during Child Abuse Prevention Month, PFSA is sponsoring two "Paint for Prevention" events at which parents, children, children's advocates, state, county, and local officials, and members of the public help paint murals with abuse-prevention themes.
The first "Paint for Prevention" event took place Saturday, April 2, in Indiana, at the Indiana Mall. A second "Paint for Prevention" event is scheduled for Saturday, April 9, in York, at the Central Market, starting at 9 a.m.
SOURCE PA Family Support Alliance