Local organization raising awareness for Child Abuse Prevention Month

When children and families face the pain and trauma of child abuse, a child advocacy center provides consolidated care and a source of comfort, information, and a solution. Advocacy centers bring law enforcement, medical care, therapy, and social services together under one roof, sparing children the continued trauma of sharing their stories multiple times. 

April 1, marks the beginning of Child Abuse Prevention Month when the Moore County Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) joins a national effort to raise awareness about child abuse, neglect, and prevention efforts. The Moore County CAC aims to communicate the importance of arming families with knowledge. 

Child abuse is endemic, and during times of crisis, we know that families are under great stress. That pressure can lead to significant increases in the risk of child maltreatment. Navigating COVID-19 can overload parents and caregivers through events like loss of employment, loss of income, complicated new child care arrangements and schooling, and food insecurity. The outreach, programs, and strategies proven and provided by the CAC help strengthen families resulting in better care for their children. 

“April is a reminder that this critical work of protecting children is not only our responsibility but one that is shared by our entire community,” says Beth Bruder Dagenhart, Children’s Advocacy Center Program Director for Southmountain Children and Family Services. “When you see the pinwheels and blue ribbons, the traditional symbols of Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness, remember that everyone has a role to play in keeping kids safe.”

“Too often, our society thinks of raising healthy children as a parent or caregiver’s responsibility alone,” said Chris Jernigan, Southmountain Children and Family Services Executive Director. “In reality, we all benefit when we work together to reduce the stress placed on families.”

The Moore County Children’s Advocacy Center will use the national symbol of child abuse prevention, pinwheels, as a physical reminder of the happy childhood every child deserves throughout the month. 

The month-long outreach effort will kick off on April 1, with Wear Blue Day. This national day of support lets others know that you support strong families and positive childhood experiences. Participants are encouraged to submit photos on Wear Blue Day at www.facebook.com/moorecac. 

A kick-off event, “Moore County Is All Hands In For Child Abuse Prevention,” is also planned for Friday, April 1. The center will host the public as well as the Department of Social Services, Law Enforcement and the District Attorney who are all members of the center’s multidisciplinary team. Refreshments will be served and the agency will plant a “pinwheel garden” to bring awareness to the cause. 

The center will be amplifying its advocacy message throughout the month with family-friendly activities and also plans to make several community presentations during the month. If your organization would like to host its speaker, please contact Juanita Dudley, Moore County Children’s Advocacy Center Director at (910) 852-9660.

By working together, we can help prevent child abuse.

Southmountain Children and Family Services (SCFS) helps children and families overcome devastating traumas and create positive social skills, behaviors, and lifestyles. A nationally accredited organization headquartered in Morganton, North Carolina, SCFS operates the state’s first and only foster community and 10 Children’s Advocacy Centers and evidence-based treatment centers serving sixteen counties in North Carolina: Ashe, Avery, Burke, Carteret, Craven, Edgecombe, Harnett, McDowell, Mitchell, Moore, Nash, Pamlico, Transylvania, Watauga, Wilson, and Yancey. Information about SCFS, including ways to support its work, can be found online at www.southmountain.org or by calling 828-584-1105.


Courtesy photo/Contributed.

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