Madison County: Child abuse problem

In 2006, the Madison County Child Protective Services Unit investigated more than 1,100 reports of child abuse or neglect. To demonstrate the magnitude of child abuse in Madison County, the Madison County Priorities Council will unveil its Pinwheels for Prevention display during a press conference Friday, April 6 at 11 a.m. at the corner of Route 5 and Lenox Avenue in the Wal Mart Plaza. The display will feature more than 1,100 pinwheels, one for every report of child abuse investigated during 2006. It will remain visible to Route 5 motorists during the entire month of April, which is recognized nationally as Child Abuse Prevention Month.

"Children deserve to live in homes where they are safe," said Michael Fitzgerald, commissioner of Social Services in Madison County. "For children living in abusive homes, they are most likely to engage in other destructive behaviors as adults. As a community, we can't afford to let our children continue to fall victim to abuse or neglect."

The Priorities Council, made up of 16 public and private organizations that all share a mission of promoting the well being of children, hopes the Pinwheels for Prevention display will help people to understand just how much of a problem Madison County has in the areas of child abuse and neglect. The 1,100 pinwheels featured in the display represent only those cases where a caring adult took the time to seek help for a child being hurt. But there are many other parents that need support to break the cycle of abuse that are not being reached.

The Madison County Priorities Council promotes a Community Child Protection strategy that places the responsibility of the safety of our children in the hands of our whole community. Through initiatives like Madison County's Promise, strong networks of support are being formed to increase healthy outlets for youth. Promise Youth and representatives from other groups will be gathered at the event. Information and opportunities about how to get involved in supporting parents and children in the community will be presented.

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