Submitted by FeldmanJ on Mon, 04/03/2023 - 11:52

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and Chautauqua County's Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (CASA), the Department of Mental Hygiene and Social Services (MHSS) and community partners are again uniting to help raise awareness of the role we collectively play in ensuring great childhoods for all children. The theme of this month is "Working Together to Strengthen Families."

The New York State Central Registry reports that in 2022, Chautauqua County had a total of 2,499 reports of child abuse resulting in an investigation. Of those, 19.92% were determined by DSS as indicated reports, meaning there was some credible evidence (Legal Standard of Proof) to support allegations of abuse or maltreatment. Also, in 2022, Chautauqua County's Safe Harbour Coordinator reported that eight youths met the federal definition for human trafficking, and 31 youths were at high risk. The average age of these youth is 15 years old.

Leanna Luka-Conley Deputy Commissioner of Adult, Children and Family services of Chautauqua County states, “This month reminds us of how important the community is as a whole when working in partnership with families that need extra support along the way. It truly takes a village to raise a child, and we all share an important role, both professionally and personally. That role is to help families in our neighborhood and throughout Chautauqua County thrive.”

Chautauqua County will host the following Child Abuse Prevention Month activities:

• PINWHEELS FOR PREVENTION: The planting of pinwheel "gardens" by organizations, schools, and businesses throughout Chautauqua County. The pinwheel is the shared symbol for child abuse prevention and reflects childhood hope, health, and happiness. During April, area businesses and organizations partnered with CASA of Chautauqua for the campaign. Please stop by any participating businesses listed below to show support and purchase a pinwheel for $2 or a pinwheel card for $1 and plant pinwheel gardens in highly visible areas of our county. CASA is asking for your help to create awareness of child abuse and neglect in Chautauqua County. All proceeds benefit CASA of Chautauqua. Visit chautauquacasa.com/pinwheels-for-prevention.html for more information.

• WEAR BLUE ON APRIL 3rd, 2023: Blue is the official color of child abuse and neglect prevention. On April 3rd, friends and advocates across Chautauqua County will wear blue to represent their Child Abuse

2 ACADEMY STREET SUITE 201, Mayville, NY 14757 Phone: (716) 753-4104 Fax: (716) 753-4230

Prevention month support. For more information on the initiatives mentioned above, please contact Nicole Kimball at kimballn@chqgov

The schedule for the three Pinwheel plantings is as follows:

April 5. 2023, at 1:00 pm at the Dunkirk City Hall, 342 Central Ave, Dunkirk, NY 14048.

April 12, 2023, at 1:15 pm at Jamestown City Hall, 200 East 3rd Street, Jamestown, N.Y. This planting will include an additional walk to Jamestown Public High School for planting there.

April 17, 2023, at 1:00 pm, at the Chautauqua Municipal Building, 2 Academy Street, Mayville, N.Y.

Official hashtags for this year are #ThisIsPrevention #CAPMonth2023 #GoBlue4NYKids #ProtectiveFactors. Use of these hashtags where appropriate assists in furthering the mission of this vital month’s campaign.

For more information on how to keep children safe from abuse and neglect, visit https://www.chautauquacasa.com/, preventchildabuse.org, chqgov.com/humansocial-services/children-family-services or call the NY State Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-342-3720. Or the NY State Helpline at 1-800-CHILDREN.

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