April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and Children’s Advocacy Centers of Mississippi is spreading awareness through visual impact at the Mississippi State Capitol. CACM is planting a pinwheel garden on the lawn of the Capitol that will consist of over 400 pinwheels with every 100 pinwheels representing a thousand children served through the Children’s Advocacy Centers. The past 20 years have led CACM to serve 44,320 children, and the “I Protect Children” movement campaign was created to recognize these children and spread awareness to Mississippians.
“Across the country, pinwheels are used during the month of April. The pinwheels are a national symbol of childhood hope, health and happiness. Unfortunately, due to child abuse and neglect, thousands of children are denied their innocence each year. The 12 Child Advocacy Centers across the state work to ensure that despite being abused and neglected, these children have the chance to receive hope, healing, and justice,” said Karla Tye, Executive Director of CACM.
Child Abuse Prevention Month has been an annual observance in the United States since 1983. The purpose of this month is to raise awareness of child abuse and maltreatment and emphasize the fact that it can happen anywhere. The pinwheel garden gives a visual representation of children who have been affected by child abuse and brings awareness to the public to act or become involved to defeat child abuse.
“We hope the pinwheels will serve as a visual reminder of the prevalence of child abuse in our communities. Each pinwheel represents 100 children that were served by a child advocacy center over the past 20 years. We hope it sparks conversations about how to eradicate child abuse in our communities across the state. We are all mandatory reporters and have a role to play in defeating child abuse.”
CACM is committed to continuing the growth of the local Child Advocacy Centers in Mississippi and improving systems that benefit every child who walks through its doors. In order to continue to grow and serve abused children, people need to recognize that no matter your career or financial status, everyone is required by law to report child abuse. Making one phone call to local law enforcement or the Child Abuse Hotline at 1.800.222.8000 could save a child’s life. The hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with all calls being anonymous.
For additional information on how to get involved with CACM and helping spread awareness, visit CACM’s website at www.childadvocacyms.org. The website is also a resource for upcoming events, training opportunities, resources, and much more. Anyone can also follow along on CACM’s journey through their social media at @childadvocacyms.
About Children’s Advocacy Centers of Mississippi (CACM)
Children’s Advocacy Centers of Mississippi (CACM) is the membership organization of Mississippi’s statewide Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs), where children who have been victimized can receive a coordinated, victim-centered response from investigators and service providers. Nearly 1,800 children enter a Mississippi child advocacy center each year to talk about the unimaginable. These child-friendly settings are designed to create a sense of safety and security for child victims. CACs also share the goal of stopping child abuse before it even starts. Incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 2008, CACM is an accredited state chapter of the National Children’s Alliance (NCA). In addition to our highly acclaimed reactive work, CACM is committed to pro-active work, fostering systemic and societal change to protect children.