Have you noticed a sudden “sprouting” of blue pinwheels throughout Downtown Bel Air over the past week? Have you been wondering what they represent? April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. In 2008, Prevent Child Abuse America introduced the pinwheel as the new national symbol for child abuse prevention. Why? Because by its very nature, the pinwheel connotes playfulness, joy, and childhood. It has come to serve as a physical reminder of the great childhoods we want for all children. In addition, as a symbol, the cyclical nature of the pinwheel calls to mind the positive cycles of love and support we want to help families create. We plant pinwheel gardens to raise awareness about the seriousness of the effects of child abuse and neglect in our community and hope that their presence will make everyone think about the role they can play in protecting our children.
This year, staff from CASA of Harford County and the Harford County Child Advocacy Center took to the streets of Bel Air to plant pinwheel gardens in various locations to highlight the importance of child abuse prevention. Pinwheel displays are located throughout Bel Air on N. Bond Street, adjacent to the Newberry Café and Bakery, outside of the Department of Community Services at 125 N. Main Street, In front of the Harford County Child Advocacy Center at 23 N. Main Street, and in front of the Harford County Sheriff’s Department at 45 S. Main Street.
We would like to thank the following community partners who have supported these efforts during the month of April: Department of Community Services, Child Advocacy Center, Harford Mutual Insurance and Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler, and the Sheriff’s Department for allowing the planting of pinwheels on their properties. The Newberry Café and Bakery for selling blue awareness ribbons in their shop to benefit CASA of Harford County and The Nest on Main for raffling off a gift basket in their shop to also benefit CASA.
Preventing child abuse and neglect is the responsibility of the entire community, not just certain child-serving and law enforcement agencies. So what can the community do? Communities can continue to work toward combating child abuse by supporting and encouraging each other in protecting our children. As a community, we can come together and talk about the organizations and resources available and the types of programs they have to offer. The goal is to expand the services available and establish a shared community philosophy, or mutual agreement of efforts. By coming together and supporting one another, we can effectively increase a sense of responsibility among adults.
About CASA of Harford County:
CASA of Harford County has been in existence since 1995 and is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization that trains community volunteers to advocate for the best interests of children who have experienced abuse and/or neglect and find themselves in the foster care and court system. CASA Volunteers monitor all aspects of their case and report to the court, making recommendations for what they feel is in the child’s best interest.
The Harford County Child Advocacy Center (CAC) is a multi-disciplinary, child-friendly place which has been operational since August of 1993. They are committed to “best practices” in the investigation and intervention of crimes against children. The CAC attained full membership (accreditation eligible) with the National Children’s Alliance in 1998 and was re-accredited on December 14, 2021.