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County Leaders and Partners Unite to Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect

For immediate publication

April 5, 2022

Corinne Awad, RUHS Foundation
951 388-0271

County Leaders and Partners Unite to Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect
‘Pinwheels for Prevention’ campaign aims to prevent abuse and help families thrive

RIVERSIDE, Calif.— The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday proclaimed April as National Child Abuse Awareness month as public and private family advocates launched a month of activities aimed at preventing child abuse and neglect.

“Abuse and neglect negatively impacts the physical health, mental health and overall wellbeing of a victim throughout their life.,” said Board Chair and District 5 Supervisor Jeff Hewitt. “We must do all we can do to prevent abuse. An important way is for communities to promote activities and resources that strengthen and support families.”

County departments and community partners hosted an awareness event in downtown Riverside on Tuesday. The activities are part of the Pinwheels for Prevention campaign, a national initiative to educate community members, support families and raise funds to prevent child abuse and neglect.

At Tuesday’s event, partners offered families access to support services, including financial, nutrition and behavioral health assistance. Advocates say the support strengthens families and helps prevent a crisis before it starts.

Riverside County caseworkers responded to about 25,000 reports of child abuse and neglect last year. Nearly 4 million cases of suspected abuse and neglect are reported nationwide annually.

The Pinwheels for Prevention campaign supports efforts to care for children and families who have experienced abuse and neglect in Riverside County and includes the Riverside County Child Assessment Center (RCCAT) at Riverside University Health System (RUHS) Medical Center. The Center provides trauma-informed care to about 1400 children in crisis in the nation’s tenth most populous county.

“Often, these children carry guilt and shame because of sexual abuse. In many cases, they’ve suffered at the hands of the person who was supposed to love and protect them the most,” said RCCAT Medical Director Dr. Sophia Grant. “We’re helping to end trauma and begin healing for our most vulnerable children.”

At the county board meeting Tuesday, leaders from the Department of Public Social Services (DPSS), First 5 Riverside County and Hope Collaborative spoke about the power of partnership and the vital role integration plays in helping victims of child abuse. Partners work with law enforcement and private and faith-based organization to provide wrap-around services that promote healing.

“Integration is about engaging the entire community to support those who we serve,” said Charity Douglas, assistant director of Children’s Services, a branch within DPSS. “It’s not simply about providing services to families, but also including them to ensure their voices are heard.”

“Families need connections to thrive,” said Tammi Graham, Executive Director of First 5 Riverside County. “Having support puts prevention into practice and helps children to grow in safe and healthy environments.”

County partners are encouraging families and local organizations to display pinwheels to show support for child abuse prevention. The pinwheels represent innocence and the bright future all children deserve. Advocates also encourage community members to promote positive parenting classes and share the warning signs of child abuse and neglect.

Pinwheels for Prevention events are scheduled throughout April, including a public event at RUHS Medical Center (26520 Cactus Ave, Moreno Valley) on Tuesday, April 19 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Learn more about the campaign by watching this video.

If you suspect a child is suffering abuse or neglect in Riverside County, please call the 24-hour child abuse hotline at 1-800-442-4918.

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