Pinwheels raising awareness for child abuse prevention

Pinwheel garden at the Office of Early Learning.
Photo credit: Tyiesha Ghent 

If you happen to notice a pinwheel or a garden of pinwheels, chances are they are for a good cause.

In recognition of Child Abuse Prevention Month, which runs through April, blue and silver pinwheels have been planted on local lawns to serve as a reminder of the safe and nurturing environment desired for every child.

Pinwheels for Prevention is a national campaign that engages communities in a coordinated effort to prevent child abuse and neglect by promoting the awareness of healthy child development, positive parenting practices and the types of support families need within their communities.

The Florida Pinwheels for Prevention campaign is coordinated by Prevent Child Abuse (PCA) Florida, the Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida and the Florida Department of Children and Families. PCA Florida is funded by the Florida Department of Children and Families with Community Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) dollars.

“As neighbors, friends, mentors, coaches, and members of local communities, we all have a responsibility in preventing child abuse. Building healthy relationships within families and supporting parents and caregivers through knowledge and education is key to preventing abuse and neglect of the most vulnerable – our children,” said Department of Children and Families’ Assistant Secretary for Child Welfare JoShonda Guerrier.

“As pinwheel gardens are planted across the nation in recognition of Child Abuse Prevention Month, we hope that this symbol of the carefree childhood, that every child should have the opportunity to enjoy, is met with real action to help prevent child abuse,” Guerrier expressed.

Hershel Lyons, K-12 public schools chancellor, agreed that Pinwheels for Prevention is a wonderful way to raise awareness for the topic since each individual has a role in preventing child abuse and neglect in our communities.

“The Department of Education is proud to join with state leaders and child advocates who share my belief that every child has the right to grow up in a safe and loving environment,” Lyons said. “I hope that the pinwheels planted today serve as an ongoing reminder to our staff and visitors that we all have a great responsibility to Florida’s children.

PCA offers free resources to parents that assist in strengthening families and promoting healthy child development. One mutual and self-help program for parents, Circle of Parents, offers anyone in a parenting role an open and safe space to discuss the successes and challenges of raising children.

PCA’s executive director Chris Lolley said, “Through activities such as mentoring, supporting family-focused organizations in your community and advocating for children’s causes, everyone can play a role in preventing child abuse and neglect. We are grateful to our partners who participate in the annual Pinwheels for Prevention campaign to remind all Floridians to take action on behalf of children and families.”