DENVER, April 4, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne joined community partners, county leaders, advocates and members of the Colorado Department of Human Services today to kick off the beginning of National Child Abuse Prevention Month at the State Capitol. The occasion reinforced the importance of individuals and communities working together to keep kids safe and families healthy.
Many of the attendees made signs that reflected their unique roles in preventing child abuse and neglect in their local communities. Attendees wore blue and planted a pinwheel garden, which are both national symbols of child abuse prevention. The pinwheel garden will remain at the Capitol throughout April. The event also kicked off a multi-county mobile billboard tour that is part of a larger grassroots initiative tied to the concept that everyone plays a role in preventing child abuse and neglect.
"In Colorado, we are lucky to have such a large network of organizations working to support families. Knowing where to get help or support can really make a difference for a parent or caregiver who is struggling," said Lt. Gov. Lynne. "Having a group of neighbors, friends and organizations, such as our campaign partners, helps us all ensure the healthy development of the next generation."
The event also reinforced that one act of kindness can help at-risk youth grow into productive, responsible citizens who are inspired to give back to society. Foster and Kinship Supervisor for Weld County, Toilynn Edwards, and former foster care child, Janelle Marquez, also delivered remarks, including how Toilynn helped Janelle beat the odds and not only overcome a traumatic childhood, but also become a court-appointed special advocate for children.
The event serves as a reminder for all Coloradoans about the statewide hotline, 1-844-CO-4-KIDS, for reporting suspected child abuse and neglect. Last year, calls from community members who are non-mandatory reporters made up 40 percent of the total calls, which was up from 24 percent in 2015. This shift confirms that individuals across our communities are increasingly aware that we all play a role in preventing child abuse and neglect.
"Child Abuse Prevention Month starts important conversations about how to be a better parent and how to keep kids safe," said Reggie Bicha, executive director of the Colorado Department of Human Services. "We should be having these conversations all year long. Everyone plays a role in keeping kids safe, even if you aren't a parent or don't work with kids every day. All around the state, there are ways that you can get involved and make a difference in a child's life."
To learn more about child abuse and neglect prevention and activities happening around the state, visit Co4kids.org.
The Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Campaign
Colorado launched a multi-year Child Abuse and Neglect Public Awareness Campaign in April 2015. The purpose of this campaign is to raise awareness of the Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline, 1-844-CO-4-KIDS, and promote greater safety for Colorado's children through common messaging and shared resources. Everyone in the community plays a role in the prevention of child abuse and neglect, and the Colorado Department of Human Resources is partnering with more than 100 community organizations, business and local government agencies to build thriving communities to support happy kids and strong families. The hotline is designed to provide one statewide, easy-to-remember phone number for reporting suspected child abuse and neglect, 24/7, 365 days a year. All hotline calls are routed to the county where a child resides.
SOURCE Colorado Department of Human Services