Prevent Child Abuse Illinois, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital are joining together to kick off Child Abuse Prevention Month in April. They will hold a press conference on Wednesday, April 4, 2018 to commemorate the start of April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month. The press conference will begin at 10 a.m. in St. Mary’s main lobby, 1800 E. Lake Shore Drive, Decatur. Following the conference there will be a planting of blue pinwheels, one of the national symbols of child abuse prevention.
Several prominent speakers are set to give remarks at the kickoff event. Decatur’s Mayor Julie Moore-Wolfe will read the Governor’s Proclamation, DCFS Regional Administrator, Cathy Smith, St. Mary’s Hospital President and CEO, Joan Coffman, Macon County Court Appointed Special Advocates Executive Director, Steve Miller, and Prevent Child Abuse Illinois Executive Director Denise McCaffrey will provide remarks.
“Children are our future and all children deserve great childhoods,” said Denise McCaffrey, Executive Director of Prevent Child Abuse Illinois. “We need to recognize that each one of us has a role to play in preventing child abuse. It’s about our future. It’s about protecting children!”
“At DCFS, we are often ‘first responders’ when it comes to helping families in crisis, and every day we see some of Illinois’ most vulnerable children and their families,” said Illinois DCFS Acting Director B.J. Walker. “Working together we can prevent serious harm to the children and reduce trauma that will potentially affect them all of their lives. In particular, we should join together – at the community level – to reach out and touch families who are struggling and do all that we can to support them so they can support their children.”
Joan M. Coffman, president and CEO of HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital said, “As first responders it is our duty to promote better understanding and recognition of signs a child is being abused or neglected. By simply increasing awareness we can help prevent our precious children from being victims in their homes, schools and communities. St. Mary’s Hospital is honored to join others in our community and region to stand up against child abuse.”
Child Abuse Prevention Month has been observed each April since its first presidential proclamation in 1983. Since that time, millions of Americans have participated in this national campaign. Individuals, organizations and communities across the United States plant pinwheels, tie ribbons, organize trainings, host fundraisers and support a multitude of other activities celebrating healthy, happy childhoods and raising awareness that all children deserve to grow up in nurturing, safe homes. Please join us on April 4 to show your support for all children and their families.