Special Events in April for National Child Abuse Prevention Month
The Cattaraugus County Department of Social Services will recognize April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month with special events to draw attention to this important issue. On Friday, April 4 county workers will draw attention to the cause by wearing something blue to work. Also, those driving by the county's Olean office building in April will see numerous blue pinwheels on the lawn as Cattaraugus County will participate in the New York State Office of Child and Family Service's “Pinwheels for Prevention” campaign.
The annual campaign sees agencies dealing with child abuse display the pinwheels in hopes of drawing attention to families touched by child abuse. Locally, the Southern Tier Child Advocacy Center will also participate in the pinwheel campaign.
According to county officials, the Department of Social Services' Child Protection Unit responded to 1,759 cases of alleged child abuse and maltreatment in 2013 alone. "We have a very hardworking, dedicated staff, who face difficult challenges in their daily work," said Social Services Commissioner Dan Piccioli about the Child Protective Services staff. He said the department is very fortunate to have the support of county elected officials, who approved the addition of two new workers this year, due to increased numbers of child abuse reports in the county.
According to Prevent Child Abuse America, the economic impact of child abuse and neglect is over $103 billion dollars a year and includes the direct cost associated with foster care as well as medical and mental health services, special education and criminal justice services.
During the month of April and throughout the year, the Cattaraugus County Department of Social Services encourages all individuals and organizations in the county to play a role in making Cattaraugus County a better place for children and families. Commissioner Piccioli added, “In ensuring that parents have the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to care for their children, we can help promote children’s social and emotional well-being and prevent child maltreatment within families and communities.”
In 2013, the Cattaraugus County Department of Social Services Child Protective Services Unit partnered with various county departments, courts, law enforcement agencies and service providers to assist families whose children were at risk of foster care placement or who were placed in foster care due to immediate safety concerns
While the workers deal with cases reported to them, they are also asking others to recognize the problem when they see the pinwheels during April. Those aware of abuse are asked to help by calling the New York State Child Abuse and Maltreatment Register at 1-800-342-3720