Nearly 80,000 children are abused or neglected every year in New York state. Many more cases go unreported.
On Tuesday, April 24, in honor of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, more than two dozen 3- and 4-year old students at the Samaritan-Rensselaer Children’s Center will help raise awareness about child abuse by transforming their playground into a pinwheel garden of hope.
The event, sponsored by Healthy Families of Rensselaer County, is part of the nationwide movement, “Pinwheels for Prevention.” Prevent Child Abuse America (PCAA) launched the grassroots campaign in 2008 to raise awareness so more people will learn to detect, report, and help eliminate child abuse in their communities.
According to PCAA, the economic impact of child abuse and neglect is $103.8 billion a year. That includes more than $33 billion in direct costs for foster care services, hospitalization, mental health treatment, and law enforcement. Indirect costs of more than $70 billion include loss of productivity, as well as expenditures related to chronic health problems, special education, and criminal justice services.
“Overcoming the tremendous imbalance between what we invest on the front end to prevent abuse and neglect before it happens, and what we spend as a consequence after it occurs, is critical for our children, families and communities,” said Timothy Hathaway, executive director of Prevent Child Abuse New York.
Laurie McBain, program manager for Healthy Families of Rensselaer County, says that early intervention is key to creating and sustaining a positive family bond.
“Collaboration and support are so important. We work with area parents, hospitals, doctors, schools and community agencies to help families feel confident and enthusiastic about their role as parents,” said McBain. “It not only helps create healthier babies and children who do better in school, it also leads to healthier parents.”
Every time someone plants a pinwheel, it symbolizes their commitment to ensuring every child has a healthy, safe, and nurturing home, and an involved, supportive, and caring community.
Students will be planting the garden of hope on Tuesday, April 24, from 10 – 11 a.m. at the Samaritan-Rensselaer Children’s Center at 2213 Burdett Avenue, Troy. In the event of rain, the location will move to the Krause Center’s Catskill Room, 2212 Burdett Avenue, Troy.
For more information about participating in or supporting a pinwheel garden of hope, contact Laurie McBain at 518-271-3923.
Healthy Families of Rensselaer County, a service supported by St. Peter’s Health Partners, has been helping families since 1994. It is part of Healthy Families New York, the state’s preeminent child abuse prevention program. The programs offer parents free in-home support, from planning for the arrival of their baby to infant care, to the years and experiences that follow.
Samaritan-Rensselaer Children’s Center is a licensed early childhood program accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, offered by St. Peter’s Health Partners.
To learn more about Pinwheels for Prevention and PCAA, visit: preventchildabuse.org