Army Community Service’s Family Advocacy Program’s National Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month campaign kicks off at 10 a.m. April 1 with a live ceremony on the ACS Fort Leavenworth Facebook page.
Fort Leavenworth’s theme is “Building Resilience in our Military Families and Children.”
Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month became a national observance in the month of April following a proclamation given by then-President Ronald Reagan in 1983.
“The whole idea is that we want to bring awareness to child abuse and neglect that’s going on, and to be able to, if we bring it to the forefront, help other people realize what’s going on and maybe we can help each other,” said Jayne Meath, FAP specialist.
Throughout the month, FAP has a daily activity for families to participate in including weekly family discussions, virtual storytimes at 10 a.m. every Thursday live on the ACS Facebook page, “Wear Blue Day” April 7, various craft activities and more.
The full calendar is available on the ACS Fort Leavenworth Facebook page, and a daily post will be available explaining the day’s activity.
Families are encouraged to e-mail photos representing their participation to Meath at [email protected]
Several activities highlight “Pinwheels for Prevention,” which was the slogan started by Prevent Child Abuse America in 2008, Meath said.
“When the month first started … there would be all these horrendous pictures of children who had been abused with bruises and stuff like that, so in 2008, Prevent America came out with the pinwheels,” Meath said. “They said, ‘instead of focusing on the bad things, why don’t we focus on bringing awareness and prevention and what you can do before something happens.’
“Pinwheels are a sign of childhood and innocence,” she said.
Keyonna Taylor, FAP manager, said she hopes the campaign, although virtual, helps remind people that FAP is still there to help despite COVID-19.
“We recognize that COVID has limited our ability to sometimes reach some of these families, and so some of these families may be suffering in silence right now, and we really want them to know that we’re still here for them,” Taylor said. “ACS and FAP still has the services to try to bring that family out of that situation.
“Our hope is to really let the public know that they’re not out there alone, that we’re all recovering together not only from COVID, but potentially from instances of abuse that have not been addressed because people aren’t reporting,” she said.
“We want to raise awareness to the fact that child abuse is still happening, it is still out there, and we’re hopeful that if people are aware that something is happening that they’ll report it. We have services to try to prevent things from being worse or intensifying and to catch it early to prevent further harm.”