Every April, Mission Kids celebrates National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
“Celebrate” may seem like a strong word for a difficult topic, but when communities come together to believe and support our children and keep them out of harm’s way, we believe it should feel like a celebration.
There are several ways you can get involved throughout the month of April to help keep kids safe and prevent child abuse.
As an individual, you can…
- Educate yourself! Learn more about the signs and indicators of abuse: Get Informed – Recognize Abuse
- If you suspect a child is being abused, report your suspicion to PA ChildLine: Call 1-800-932-0313 or report electronically here
- Talk to your children about body safety and use appropriate names for body parts
- Talk to your kids about consent and healthy relationships
- Recognize signs of Human Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children: Get Informed – Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC)
- Strengthen community supports by helping a family in need or checking in on a neighbor
- Raise the issue/stay involved- Call or write local candidates and elected officials and advocate for issues related to child welfare: Find your local legislator here!
- Get involved/stay active in school organizations, youth-serving agencies, or volunteer to coach community sports teams
- Learn more about internet safety and create a “Code of Conduct” with your kids to keep them safe online
- Monitor your children’s TV, video, and internet viewing/usage
- Ask your children about their days, and be sure to listen to what they have to say.
- Create origami pinwheels with your child: Watch a video tutorial here
As an organization, you can…
- Organize a training for your staff: Learn more – Host a Training
- Share information and resources about child abuse by requesting materials such as posters and hand outs from local centers (like Mission Kids!)
- Raise money or host a third-party fundraiser for youth-serving agencies like Mission Kids: Learn more – Host a Fundraiser
- Invest in the community and become a “Partner in Prevention”: Learn more – Corporate Partnerships
This April, Mission Kids Child Advocacy Center has ‘planted’ pinwheels at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s (CHOP’s) King of Prussia Campus to recognize National Child Abuse Prevention Month and to draw attention the work that Mission Kids’ staff and partner agencies do every day to support child victims of abuse and their families in Montgomery County. A symbol of childhood, the pinwheel represents what every child should have—the chance to laugh and play, without the fear of physical or sexual abuse.
By displaying pinwheels, Mission Kids joins with more than 40 local Children’s Advocacy Centers across the state to draw attention to the importance of providing children with safe, healthy environments. The pinwheels also send the message that children who have experienced abuse can still experience the joy of childhood; with the intervention and support that Children’s Advocacy Centers provide, child victims can heal from trauma. In 2021, Mission Kids served 1,026 suspected victims of child abuse and their families by providing a collaborative team response to cases involving suspected abuse. Bringing together law enforcement, child protective services, medical professionals, and trauma therapists, Mission Kids intervenes to stop abuse and ensure that victims and caregivers are connected to the support and resources they need to begin the healing process.
“Every one of those pinwheels represents a real child,” says Leslie Slingsby, Executive Director of Mission Kids. “The pinwheels spinning joyfully and free are the perfect image of what a child’s life should be. Mission Kids will bring attention to the number of children we serve using the ultimate childhood symbol of the pinwheel.”