Many children have never known the comfort of “home” as being a place to lay their head in peace and safety, a place where they know they will be fed good meals or a place where someone will hold them, love them and tell them bedtime stories.
Some children have only known neglect, hate and chaos in their “homes.”
In the United States of America, April has been designated as National Child Abuse Awareness Month.
Pat Franklin, director of Craig County Social Services, shared some staggering facts for Virginia:
- Every 13 days a child dies as a result of abuse/neglect
- Every 81 minutes a child is abused or neglected in Virginia
- Every 69 minutes one child drops out of school
- Every 25 minutes a child in Virginia becomes homeless
- Every 5 minutes a child is born in Virginia
- Every day 13 children receive services from a Virginia Child Advocacy Center
The statistics show that there are 5,322 children currently in foster care in Virginia, 49% of which are due to neglect.
“This month and throughout the year, Craig County Department of Social Services encourages all individual and organizations to play a role in making Craig County a better place for children and families,” Franklin said. “By ensuring that parents have the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to care for their children, we can help promote the social and emotional well-being of children and youth and prevent child maltreatment within families and communities.”
She added, “Protective factors are the strengths and resources families draw on during difficult times to shield them from life’s stresses. Research shows that when parents possess protective factors, the risk for neglect and abuse diminish and optimal outcomes for children, you, and families are promoted. Major protective factors include knowledge of parenting, knowledge of child development, parental resilience, social connections, and concrete supports.”
On March 31, the DSS and local companies and organizations wore blue to show their united support in preventing child abuse in the community.
“I would like to give a big shout out to thank the following organizations for participating wearing blue or the blue ribbon: Craig County Schools, Craig County Child Care Center, the Sheriff’s office, Health Department, The Monroe Health and Dental offices, Farmers & Merchants Bank, Craig Botetourt Electrical Company along with the Circuit and J and D Courts, the treasures office, the voter registration office, and Craig County Administration office,” Franklin said.
Pictures of the different organizations can be found on Craig County Social Service’s Facebook page. For information or concerns, call the office at (540) 864-5117.
Some added the blue pinwheel gardens planted around the county, including the garden at the courthouse, where the DSS planted a large number of pin wheels.
“These pinwheels will remain in the courtyard for the entire month of April to show our continued support for child abuse awareness,” Franklin added. “Craig County Social Services hopes you will join with us to make every month Child Abuse Awareness.”
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