On any given day, there are around 850 children in Denver living in out-of-home care because they been abused or neglected.
As a society that places priority on keeping children safe and out of harm’s way, we must do all we can to make sure future generations are treated with dignity and respect. Throughout the month of April, Denver Human Services and Prevent Child Abuse Colorado, a nonprofit organization, are teaming up to plant blue and silver Pinwheels for Prevention gardens throughout Denver. The pinwheels are reflective of the bright futures that all children deserve to have.
“It’s everyone’s responsibility to look out and protect children,” Toni Rozanski, Child Welfare Services Director at Denver Human Services says. “The pinwheel garden symbolizes our commitment to helping children thrive and achieve the bright futures they are meant to have; free from child abuse and neglect."
There are five simple ways parents and adults can prevent child abuse and neglect.
The first is Family Resilience. Since challenging times impact every family, it’s important to remember that hope and a positive attitude will help families overcome obstacles.
Next is parent development. Just as children go to school, it is vital parents take time to learn about child development. Learning comes in the form of reading books, taking a parenting class or conducting research online. This knowledge empowers parents with how to set realistic expectations and gives us tools to cope with challenging parenting situations.
Third is child development. Parents need to help children develop emotionally and socially. These life skills help children identify their feelings, clearly communicate to other people, and problem solve.
Perhaps the most important is for parents to surround themselves with a strong support network made up of family and friends. Being a parent is tough and no one can do it alone. Family and friends provide parents with breaks, support and advice. A good network prevents parents from becoming isolated, which is vital to preventing child abuse and neglect.
Finally, turn to teachers, day care workers, doctors or other child care professionals for advice. These child professionals can easily offer parents advice during times of need.
It takes parents and the entire community working together to keep kids safe and protected.
As we embark on Child Abuse Prevention month we encourage every person to reach out and support parents and children. Pinwheel Gardens will be on display at the Denver Botanic Gardens, Children’s Museum, and at various city buildings and Denver Public Schools throughout the month of April. The Barnes and Noble downtown location will also showcase parenting books during this time.
To report suspected child abuse or neglect, please call your local county human services department. In Denver, the hotline is 720-944-3000. Additionally, if you feel your voice is not being heard by a child protection agency, please call the Office of Colorado Child Protection Ombudsman toll-free at 855-5-SAFEKIDS (855-572-3354) to voice your concerns.
For additional information, please visit www.denvergov.org/PreventChildAbuse.