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Newsroom Gov. Brownback proclaims April Child Abuse Prevention Month

TOPEKAGov. Sam Brownback declared April Kansas Child Abuse Prevention Month during a proclamation signing ceremony Friday.  

He was joined by top officials from the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS), Kansas Children’s Service League (KCSL), Kansas Children’s Cabinet and Trust Fund, Child Death Review Board, University of Kansas Institute for Educational Research and Public Policy, Kansas Head Start Association, Statewide Parent Leadership Advisory Council, Biker’s Against Child Abuse, and Kids for Kids Organization .

Governor Brownback praised them for their work to prevent child abuse during April and every month of the year.  

“Raising awareness is vital to preventing child abuse and making Kansas a better place for families,” Governor Brownback said.   

Child Abuse Prevention events during April this year, such as a kickoff at Kansas Children’s Discovery Center in Topeka, and a geo-caching project at Exploration Place in Wichita, will focus on the theme “Strengthening Families and Communities.”   

Child Abuse Prevention month has adopted the blue pinwheel as its symbol. KSCL is the Kansas chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America, which spearheads the Pinwheels for Prevention® Campaign.  Activities are being planned in 37 counties by Community Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) grantees, Court Appointed Special Advocate groups, Child Advocacy Centers, and Community Child Abuse Prevention Coalitions.  Letters to the Editor are being distributed to 186 Kansas newspapers.  Proclamation signings have been planned in 34 cities and counties.  

Libraries and other partners are distributing 150,000 bookmarks with prevention information on them about strengthening families.  New statewide partnerships have been established with Dillon’s Food Stores, Spangles and Natural Grocers to help raise awareness.  There will also be radio and television public service announcements playing all month long on stations across the state, in addition to a statewide “Wear Blue Day” that has been set for April 13th. 

“We’re thrilled to see blue pinwheels popping up all over the state again this year, representing the desire to change the way our state thinks about prevention, and focusing on this year’s theme of ‘Strengthening Families and Communities,’” said Vicky Roper, Director of the Kansas Chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America within the Kansas Children’s Service League. 

Since July 1, 2011, Kansas SRS caseworkers have followed up on 18,958 reports of a child in need of care. Of those, 68 percent were determined to be reports of abuse or neglect. SRS documents seven different types of abuse or neglect: abandonment, emotional abuse, lack of supervision, medical neglect, physical abuse, physical neglect, and sexual abuse. The other 32 percent of those reports were determined to be regarding truancy or runaways.

“The caseworkers who follow up on reports of abuse or neglect have incredibly tough, but incredibly important jobs,” said SRS Secretary Phyllis Gilmore. “There is no higher priority than the safety of children in Kansas.” 

SRS must make contact with the victim or family within 72 hours of receiving a report of abuse or neglect. Reports of child abuse or neglect can be made by calling 1-800-922-5330. 

The following signs may indicate a case of abuse or neglect of a child: sudden changes in a child’s behavior or school performance; a child with untreated medical problems of which the parent is aware; a child who is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen; a child who lacks adult supervision; a child who is overly compliant, passive, or withdrawn; a child who comes to school or other activities early, stays late, and does not want to go home, as well as other indicators.  

Nationwide, more than 3.5 million cases of suspected child abuse or neglect are reported to state and local child protective services agencies annually.