TOPEKA – Kansas Governor Sam Brownback and Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) Secretary Phyllis Gilmore were joined by dozens of children today, to kick off Child Abuse Prevention Month. The event in Topeka involved the Pinwheels for Prevention campaign to call attention to child abuse prevention.
“Child abuse is a persistent problem and no child should have to live in fear,” Governor Brownback said. “We can all do something to help, watch for the signs and report suspected abuse.”
Governor Brownback signed a proclamation on March 20, designating April as Child Abuse Prevention Month in Kansas. This year’s theme is Making Meaningful Connections.
“We need to connect with our communities and other families so that when we are struggling to cope, we know we’re not alone,” Secretary Gilmore said. “DCF offers many services to support families in crisis so children can stay in their home, as long as that is a safe option.”
During Tuesday’s event, DCF Social Worker Alecia Rivera spoke to those in attendance. She described her work as an investigator of abuse and neglect as both challenging and rewarding.
“It can be so rewarding to walk alongside families to help them see that child abuse is never the answer to a problem,” Rivera said. “When families can grow and thrive in a loving environment, everyone wins.”
During the last decade, the Kansas has seen a 48 percent increase in the number of reports alleging child abuse or neglect.
“While that demonstrates that child abuse is still a serious issue in our communities, it also demonstrates that we as a state are doing a better job raising awareness and protecting children from further abuse,” Secretary Gilmore said.
As part of Tuesday’s event, children from the Topeka area and Governor Brownback planted pinwheels in a flower garden on the south side of the State Capitol Building. The planting ceremony is part of the Pinwheels for Prevention campaign—an effort to change the way our nation thinks about prevention and how we can deliver on our commitment to Kansas children. The pinwheel serves as an uplifting reminder of childhood and the bright futures all children deserve.
Suspected child abuse and neglect can be reported by calling the Kansas Protection Center at 1-800-922-5330.