April 13, 2011 Child Advocacy Centers of Wyoming
April marks an important time to call attention to child abuse prevention and intervention
CHEYENNE – Planting hundreds of children’s pinwheels on the Wyoming Capitol lawn, statewide partners against child abuse called attention to the importance of prevention and intervention during April, which is child abuse prevention month in Wyoming.
The group planted 245 pinwheels on the east side of the Capitol lawn, each one representing three child victims in Wyoming. In 2010, there were 735 child victims and 445 substantiated cases of child abuse and neglect in Wyoming, according to the Wyoming National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System report.
The blue and silver pinwheel is a national symbol that represents efforts to change the way our nation thinks about prevention, focusing on community activities and public policies that prioritize prevention right from the start to make sure child abuse and neglect never occur.
“Wyoming’s children are our future, and all of Wyoming suffers whenever any child suffers abuse or neglect,” said Wyoming’s First Lady Carol Mead, who read the proclamation signed by Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead, declaring April as child abuse awareness month, during the April 13 press conference at the State Capitol.
“Beyond just in April, we should emphasize the importance of understanding the devastating problem of child abuse and neglect, and the need for all Wyoming residents to help families overcome it to protect Wyoming’s most valuable asset – our children,” Mead said.
"Wyoming's challenge for children should be to recognize the signs of abuse or neglect early and work with families," said Steve Corsi, the director of Wyoming Department of Family Services. "Our focus should be on prevention."
Statewide partners involved in the press conference included: Child Advocacy Centers of Wyoming, Prevent Child Abuse Wyoming, Wyoming Citizen Review Panel, Wyoming Office of the Attorney General Division of Victim Services, Protective Services Division of the Wyoming Department of Family Services, and the Wyoming Children's Trust Fund Board.
Victims of child abuse in Wyoming receive a multidisciplinary approach to receiving services from state agencies and local community providers, said Julie Tennant-Caine, director of the Wyoming Office of the Attorney General Division of Victim Services.
“One important way this is happening is through our partnership with the Department of Family Services in increasing the knowledge of mandatory reporting and how citizens of Wyoming can report child abuse,” Tennant-Caine said. “Additionally, the Division of Victim Services recognizes the need to provide education in recognizing abuse and neglect and treating the children. That is why we are sponsoring the second annual Crimes Against Children's conference in May 2011.”
Lynn Huylar, chair of the board for Child Advocacy Centers of Wyoming, said, "We need to create the culture that we're not going to tolerate child abuse anymore with prevention activities, coordinated and comprehensive investigations and aggressive laws to protect the innocent and hold perpetrators accountable.”
“Local efforts need ongoing support from residents and businesses in order to provide services to help protect children, especially those who are victims of child abuse, in our communities,” Huylar said. She encouraged residents to seek out those organizations in their communities.
During the press conference, the statewide partners welcomed the reopening of Prevent Child Abuse Wyoming, which closed in 2009. Prevent Child Abuse Wyoming is now a program of Wyoming Citizen Review Panel.
“Prevent Child Abuse Wyoming is thrilled to be a part of such an important proclamation,” said Alli Anderson, program manager with Prevent Child Abuse Wyoming. “Awareness of the issue of child abuse and neglect is one of the major goals of our program and the State and Governor Mead’s acknowledgement of April as Child Abuse Prevention Month reaches statewide to help bring that needed awareness.”
Wyoming Children's Trust Fund Board Chair Ken Nielsen said, "Children and families need community support to grow in a safe and stable environment. This includes providing education, collaboration and prevention across the state. Children are our future and our most valuable asset, so if you know a family who needs help, ask yourself what you can do to help prevent child abuse or neglect."
LIST OF PARTNERS
- Protective Services Division of the Wyoming Department of Family Services: Protective Services Division’s primary goal is to ensure children and vulnerable adults are safe. The division is required by law to investigate and provide services to children who have been abused and neglected. Services can include foster care, in-home services and, if needed, residential treatment centers to address issues stemming from emotional and physiological trauma. For vulnerable adults, including elders and those who have developmental delays, we connect those adults, caregivers and families with services and referrals within the community to help create or maintain a safe living environment. Website: http://dfsweb.state.wy.us/protective-services/index.html
- Wyoming Office of the Attorney General Division of Victim Services: The Division of Victim Services was created by the Wyoming state legislature in 1997 to ensure that Wyoming was doing all that it can and should do to help Wyoming crime victims and their families. The Division is proud to be the voice for crime victims in Wyoming and is dedicated to helping crime victims by developing programs to help them navigate, understand, and participate in the criminal justice system. It is the division's goal to assure victims that they are not left behind at the crime scene, but can be involved, if desired, in all parts of the criminal justice system. Website: http://vssi.state.wy.us
- Prevent Child Abuse Wyoming: Prevent Child Abuse Wyoming is a program of the Wyoming Citizen Review Panel, Inc. and a provisional chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America. The mission of PCA-Wyoming is to coordinate prevention efforts in Wyoming to reduce incidents of child neglect, physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Website: http://www.pcawy.org
- Wyoming Citizen Review Panel: The Wyoming Citizen Review Panel Inc. is a federally mandated group of citizens who are responsible for determining whether state and local agencies are effectively meeting child protective responsibilities pursuant to the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) and subsequent amendments. Through a review of service networks, policies, procedures, research and reviews of child protective and juvenile service cases the purpose of the Citizen Review Panel is to promote child safety, permanency and well-being for children and families. Website: http://www.wycrp.org
- Wyoming Children's Trust Fund Board: The Children’s Trust Fund was created to promote prevention and education programs to reduce child abuse and neglect incidents as well as reduce the need for state intervention. This board awards grants to communities developing child abuse or neglect prevention programs. Website: http://dfsweb.state.wy.us/protective-services/childrens-trust-fund/index.html
Child Abuse Statistics
- In 2010, there were 735 child victims and 445 substantiated cases of child abuse and neglect in Wyoming, according to the Wyoming National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System report.
- Child Advocacy Centers in Wyoming served 400 child victims in 2009.- Child Advocacy Centers of Wyoming
- 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before the age of 18. - National Children's Alliance
- 1 in 5 children is solicited sexually while on the Internet. - National Children's Alliance
- Nearly 75 percent of child victims are under the age of 11. - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
WHEREAS, Wyoming’s children are our future. Whenever one child is abused or neglected, all Wyoming residents suffer; and
WHEREAS, every child is precious and deserves to grow up in a healthy, safe, nurturing environment free from the threats, dangers, and harmful effects of child abuse and neglect; and
WHEREAS, an estimated 735 of children in Wyoming are victims of abuse or neglect each year; and
WHEREAS, child abuse and neglect can be reduced by making sure each family has the support they need to raise their children in a healthy environment; and
WHEREAS, effective child abuse prevention programs succeed because of partnerships created among social service agencies, schools, faith communities, civic organizations, law enforcement agencies, and the business community; and
WHEREAS, each April, Child Advocacy Centers of Wyoming, Prevent Child Abuse Wyoming, Wyoming Citizen Review Panel, Protective Services Division of the Wyoming Department of Family Services, Wyoming Office of the Attorney General Division of Victim Services and Wyoming Children's Trust Fund Board and other partners ask Wyoming communities to join together in an effort to prevent abuse and neglect through outreach efforts; and
WHEREAS, this month, we emphasize the importance of understanding the devastating problem of child abuse and neglect, and the need for all Wyoming residents to help families overcome it to protect Wyoming’s most valuable asset – our children.
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT PROCLAIMED BY GOVERNOR MATT MEAD OF WYOMING THAT:
Every April will be known as Child Abuse Prevention Month in Wyoming.