FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 12, 2021
Pinwheels for Prevention Campaign to Raise Awareness for Uptick in Child Abuse and Neglect Cases
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – For the past year, due to the pandemic, most children have not been in the presence of teachers, social workers, pediatricians, and other caring adults who typically intervene on their behalf when they are unsafe. At the same time, the pandemic has created extraordinary challenges for families. For some children, this has created a ripe environment for abuse or neglect.
As part of a national effort to protect children from abuse, ReadyKids – a Charlottesville nonprofit – and community partners including the Charlottesville Commonwealth Attorney’s Office are joining together in the annual ‘Pinwheels for Prevention’ campaign. Pinwheels are a physical reminder of the joyful childhoods we want for all children. Other organizations joining ReadyKids in hosting mini “Pinwheels for Prevention” gardens include Pediatric Associates and Albemarle County Police Department Victim/Witness Assistance. This is an especially important year to highlight how the Charlottesville community can support children and families.
"The ramifications of COVID have had a negative effect on the children and families in our community,” said ReadyKids Executive Director, Jacki Bryant. “Financial insecurity, unemployment, virtual schooling, inadequate childcare options and glaring inequities in our healthcare system have led to a quiet epidemic of abuse and neglect for children in Charlottesville and across the country. We urge all community members to join us in raising awareness during the month of April and to work together throughout the year to strengthen families and the systems that support them."
Charlottesville Commonwealth’s Attorney Joe Platania said, “Protecting children from abuse and neglect has been a top priority for our office. We’re proud to join in this effort to keep kids safe, and we plant our pinwheels to honor the children we worked with and to symbolize their strength and resilience. The presence of the pinwheel gardens across the city of Charlottesville will offer proof of our community’s belief that all children deserve a happy, healthy childhood.”
Over the past year, child and sexual abuse hotlines have reported significant increases in call and message volume, and emergency room physicians have reported seeing more severe child-abuse-related injuries than in a typical year. For the first time this past year, more than half of the visitors to the National Sexual Assault Hotline were minors. We know that this tells only part of the story.
As vulnerable children start to return to the public eye, we ask you to join us in our commitment to serve and reach those who face a long road ahead. It is critical that children who have experienced abuse or neglect be connect with counseling, caring adults and other resources critical for their long-term health and resilience. We also ask that you support all child-serving organizations and professionals to ensure that they have the necessary resources to do their jobs effectively. Together, we can help children heal.
ReadyKids is a private, non-profit organization working toward the vision that every child in the community is ready to learn, ready for relationships, and ultimately ready for life. For 100 years, ReadyKids has provided critical support to children and families in Charlottesville and the five surrounding counties. Its programs help kids build life-long skills so that they have the chance to reach their full potential. Last year, ReadyKids’ programs impacted the lives of over 8,000 children, families and child care providers in Charlottesville and surrounding counties.
(434) 296-4118 ex. 233 (office)
(952) 215-7358 (cell)
Commonwealth’s Attorney City of Charlottesville