Everyone has a role to play to keep kids safe
Prevent Child Abuse Illinois, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, and HSHS St. John’s Children’s Hospital will commemorate the start of April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month at a joint press conference at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, April 3 at the St. John’s Pavilion, 301 N. 8th St., Springfield.
Several prominent speakers are set to give remarks at the kickoff event. Springfield’s Mayor Jim Langfelder will read the governor’s proclamation; and DCFS Regional Administrator Cathy Smith, St. John’s Children’s Hospital and Women’s Services Executive Director Vernessa Glover and Prevent Child Abuse Illinois Executive Director Denise McCaffrey will also give remarks.
“Children are our future and all children deserve great childhoods,” said Denise McCaffrey, executive director of Prevent Child Abuse Illinois. “We need to recognize that each one of us has a role to play in preventing child abuse. It’s about our future. It’s about protecting children.”
“At DCFS, we are often ‘first responders’ when it comes to helping families in crisis, and every day we see some of Illinois’ most vulnerable children and their families,” said Illinois DCFS Acting Director B.J. Walker. “Working together we can prevent serious harm to the children and reduce trauma that will potentially affect them all of their lives. In particular, we should join together – at the community level – to reach out and touch families who are struggling and do all that we can to support them so they can support their children.”
Vernessa Glover, executive director of HSHS St. John’s Children’s Hospital said “As healthcare providers, we know that child abuse and neglect often present as unmanaged chronic conditions, psychological disorders, reduced life expectancy and substance abuse in adulthood. By shining a light on awareness, early intervention and prevention, we are protecting a child’s right to joy and innocence and improving long-term health outcomes in our community.”
Child Abuse Prevention Month has been observed each April since its first presidential proclamation in 1983. Since that time, millions of Americans have participated in this national campaign. Individuals, organizations and communities across the United States plant pinwheels, tie ribbons, organize trainings, host fundraisers and support a multitude of other activities celebrating healthy, happy childhoods and raising awareness that all children deserve to grow up in nurturing, safe homes.