April marks National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Child Abuse Prevention Month raises awareness nationally and encourages families and communities to work together to learn how to prevent child abuse and neglect and why a vigilant community is the best defense to prevent and report suspected child abuse or neglect to local child protective services agencies and law enforcement.  

Child Abuse is a national epidemic in the United States. Approximately 1 in 7 children have experienced child abuse or neglect in the last year. Nationally, a child abuse report is made every 10 seconds.  In Ohio, a child is abused and every 30 minutes.

Each year, communities across the nation plan month-long activities to help raise awareness and educate the community-at-large about vital importance of PREVENTING child abuse and neglect.

For the last 16 years, the Child Advocacy Center at Akron Children’s Hospital, Boardman Campus and Mahoning County Children Services have partnered to plan and sponsor a month-long initiative called “Pinwheels for Child Abuse Prevention Month.”

The Pinwheels for Prevention” initiativeis designed to support, honor, recognize and raise awareness to inform and educate the community-at-large about child abuse and neglect prevention through these annual events/activities:

  1. “Pinwheels for Prevention Community/Public Event” brings together a variety of community organizations partners, schools, stakeholders. The annual event features a Keynote Speaker, presentations, trainings, etc.

NOTE: 2021 Event Changes: Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic and restrictions on in-person events, the “2021 Pinwheels for Prevention Community/Public Event” has been cancelled. In lieu of an in-person event, we have partnered with WKBN/ WYTV to create a multi-media Child Abuse Prevention Community Awareness Campaign. Stay Tuned to WKBN/WYTV. The Annual Pinwheel Garden Display will be planted in Boardman Park the entire month of April.

  • 2021 Community Spotlight Award(s): recognizes one community organization or individual who demonstrates generosity, and ongoing commitment, and community service to the Children of Mahoning County. 
    Boardman High School Jazz Ensemble 2 wins ‘Community Spotlight award (press release)
    Wanda Marland wins community spotlight award (press release)
  • 2021 Pinwheel Garden Display:  During the entire month of April, over 1,000 Pinwheels are “planted” on the front lawn in Boardman Park, Boardman, Ohio. Each Pinwheel planted represents an individual who advocated on behalf of a child who was abused or neglected in Mahoning County. Research has shown that people of all ages respond to the Pinwheels due to their whimsy and childlike notions. The Pinwheels are also reminder that child abuse and neglect happen in every community and encourages individuals to focus on prevention as part of an overall plan to break the cycle of child abuse. The community is invited to view the 2021 Pinwheel Garden Display the entire month of April during normal Boardman Park hours.

The “Pinwheels for Child Abuse Prevention Campaign” is a National Public Awareness Campaign designed to showcase community activities that support public policy and prioritize healthy child development.

It is important for community members to know the Warning Signs of Child Abuse and Neglect to better understand how to prevent it, what to do and how and where to report child abuse when observed or suspected.

Child abuse and neglect is any harm, potential to harm or a threat of harm brought to a child. Always take it seriously when a child speaks about being abused or if suspected.

There are four main types of child abuse and include:

Physical Abuse: the intentional use of physical force that can result in physical harm. For example: hitting, kicking, shaking, burning, or other shows of force against a child. (Source: Centers for Disease Control)

Sexual Abuse: involves pressuring or forcing a child to engage in sexual acts. It includes fondling, penetration, and exposing a child to other sexual activities.  (Source: Centers for Disease Control)

Emotional Abuse: refers to behaviors that harm a child self-worth or emotional well-being. Examples include name calling, shaming, rejection, withholding love, and threatening. (Source: Centers for Disease Control)

Neglect: is the failure to meet a child’s basic physical and emotional needs. These include housing, food, clothing, education, and access to medical care. (Source: Centers for Disease Control)

Do You Know the Warning Signs for Child Abuse & Neglect?

Long-Term Effects of Child Abuse and Neglect on Children

Evidence-based research studies have documented and concluded that child abuse and neglect and  “Adverse Childhood Experiences” (ACEs) have detrimental and long-term effects on children. Adverse child experiences include traumatic events that happen in a child’s life that may increase the possibility of the child experiencing unfavorable health issues in the future.  These health issues may include: Physical health issues (including heart disease, obesity, cancer, high blood pressure) and Mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder, drug and alcohol abuse and depression and other issues in their personal life including not attending school, human trafficking, and teen pregnancy) and Social ramifications including incarceration and criminal/illicit/deviant behavior.

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