Social Services calls attention to preventing child abuse

Published 9:47 am Monday, April 24, 2017

by Jean Blackburn

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and the Southampton County Dept. of Social Services planted a pinwheel garden to help raise awareness of the role we can all play in ensuring happy and healthy childhoods for every child in our community. Each pinwheel planted represents a possible child abuse and neglect report made to Social Services during the last fiscal year. The garden contains 70 pinwheels.

We believe that all children deserve a great childhood, as children will shape our future. However, that is sadly not the case for many children in Virginia. Thousands of Virginia children suffer abuse and neglect each year. In the fiscal year 2016, there were 51,327 children reported as possible victims of abuse and neglect, and of those children, there were 52 confirmed deaths due to abuse and neglect.

These statistics are a reminder to all of us that we can each find a way to ensure safe and positive childhoods.

The 2017 Virginia Child Abuse Prevention Month theme, “Together for Children,” promotes the idea that together, communities can unite in their efforts to prevent the abuse and neglect of children in our commonwealth.

Plant a pinwheel garden in your community to help bring awareness. Take this time to plant your garden to celebrate the youth in your family, church, or community. The pinwheel represents childhood hope, health and happiness.

Southampton County Dept. of Social Services and Joyner Gray Yale Ruritan Club held a Child Abuse Prevention Golf Tournament on April 8 at the Cypress Cove Country Club. All proceeds will be returned to community through programs to support Child Abuse Prevention.

There will also be a Child Abuse Awareness Fair on Saturday, April 29 ,on the grounds of Riverdale Elementary School from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  There will be fun and games for all ages.

JEAN BLACKBURN is with Southampton County Social Services. Contact her at 653-3121.