Child Abuse Prevention Campaign Kicks off in Tallahassee

For Immediate Release:
April 5, 2013

Contact:
Nicole Stookey
Northwest Region Communications Director
(850) 509-2675

Child Abuse Prevention Campaign Kicks off in Tallahassee
"Pinwheels for Prevention" encourages healthy child development

TALLAHASSEE— Preventing child abuse requires the diligence of every Floridian every day of the year. April marks Child Abuse Prevention Month nationally, and officials today launched Florida's annual Pinwheels for Prevention campaign.

First Lady greets children.
First Lady Greets Children.

First Lady Reading Corner
First Lady Reading Corner

Secretary Wilkins
Secretary Wilkins

Pinwheel Garden Planting
Pinwheel Planting Garden

First Lady Ann Scott, Department of Children and Families Secretary David Wilkins, Florida's Advocate for Foster Care and Adoption Tanya Wilkins and Prevent Child Abuse Florida Executive Director Anita Odom were joined at the Governor's Mansion by Publix Media and Community Relations Manager Dwaine Stevens, Bethany Christian Services Winter Garden Branch Director Cheri Williams and 20 children in fourth and fifth grades from Bethel Christian Academy to kick off the annual campaign.

"Each Floridian has the responsibility to help the Department and our community-based partners ensure the safety of our children," said DCF Secretary David Wilkins. "Together, we can help break the cycle of abuse and create the opportunity for every child to have a safe future and pursue their biggest hopes and dreams."

Florida's Pinwheels for Prevention campaign is part of a national movement to change the way we think about child abuse prevention by focusing on community activities and public policies so abuse and neglect never begins. The campaign event theme is "Growing Stronger Together," an important message that healthy child development is everyone's responsibility.

"We each have unique skills and abilities and can use our talents to make our communities stronger," said First Lady Ann Scott. "There are countless ways you can help build a brighter future for Florida's children. I encourage you to promote the health and well-being of every child by getting involved with an organization supporting children and families in your community."

"Thousands of pinwheels on display in Florida and millions displayed across the nation serve as a reminder and a call to action that we all have a role in growing stronger together," Prevent Child Abuse Florida's Anita Odom said. "The pinwheels represent the happy childhoods and bright futures that all our children deserve."

To carry out its mission, the Department of Children and Families engages communities in improving the lives of Florida's children, families and vulnerable adults. More than 2,300 businesses, faith organizations, non-profits and individuals are recognized as DCF Partners for Promise for their role in strengthening families and communities.

"At Publix, we are proud to excel in community involvement, volunteerism and a commitment to our market areas and beyond," said Publix representative Dwaine Stevens. "We know that our employees are the key to our success and that's why we offer on-site childcare and other family-friendly workplace policies that make Publix one of the best places to work."

Faith-based communities have an important role to play in strengthening and supporting families to help prevent state assistance. Cheri Williams of Bethany Christian Services said, "We are pleased to partner with the Department of Children and Families to serve families through the new My Florida Caring Neighbors program. Through this DCF initiative, our faith-based network of volunteers and providers will give neighbors a hand up in their times of need, providing services like child care, mentoring and tutoring and more."

Gov. Rick Scott signed a proclamation this month to recognize April as Child Abuse Prevention Month in Florida. That proclamation is attached.

As part of the campaign, DCF launched a new Pinwheels for Prevention webpage at www.myflfamilies.com/pinwheels. The page gives details about DCF's Pinwheels for Prevention Pinterest project, planting pinwheel gardens in your community, a social media effort featuring funny fatherhood stories from Florida dads, statewide events, and a free Parenting Guide e-book with parenting tips from birth to teenage years.

The Department of Children and Families urges every Floridian to report suspected abuse, neglect or unsafe suspicions to the Florida Abuse Hotline at 1-800-962-2873 or online at FloridaAbuseHotline.com.

For more information on topics related to healthy child development, and to see a list of other local Child Abuse Prevention Month events across the state, visit www.ounce.org.

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