Jacobs proclaims April Child Abuse Prevention & Awareness Month in Cullman

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Pictured left to right are Javon Daniel, Mayor Woody Jacobs and Nancy Bryant (Leanne West)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman Mayor Woody Jacobs this week officially proclaimed the month of April 2019 “Child Abuse Prevention & Awareness Month” in the city of Cullman. On hand to accept the proclamation from Cullman Caring for Kids were Executive Director Javon Daniel and Assistant Director Nancy Bryant.

“Cullman is very fortunate to have people and organizations working together to bring awareness to this issue and to try to end child abuse and neglect in our community,” said Jacobs. “We appreciate all the services Cullman Caring for Kids, Brooks’ Place, and DHR provide for families dealing with this issue.”

According to current national statistics, approximately 4 million children each year are reported as abused or neglected, with over 1,500 dying from their injuries and many others carrying the burdens of their maltreatment into adulthood. Children who were abused are more likely to suffer from substance abuse, depression, learning disabilities, school failure, emotional and behavioral disorders, criminal activity, and an inability to foster healthy relationships. They are also more likely to continue the cycle of abuse by abusing their own children.

There are many events planned for Child Abuse Prevention & Awareness Month, and all citizens are encouraged to participate in the events. Throughout the month of April, citizens and businesses are encouraged to display blue ribbons on their buildings, homes, or vehicles. This blue ribbon campaign was started in 1989 when a Virginia grandmother was grieving the death of her grandson and the battery of her granddaughter at the hands of their abusive father. As a reminder of the bruises she had seen on her grandchildren’s bodies, she attached a blue ribbon to the antenna of her van. Since that time, the blue ribbon has come to symbolize child abuse awareness and prevention. You may also notice blue pinwheels around town. The pinwheel is the national symbol for child abuse prevention, and has come to serve as a reminder of the great childhoods all of our children deserve. Other important events include the Prayer Walk around the Courthouse at noon on April 11 and the Safe Kids Expo from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. on April 13 at Sportsman Lake Park. Refer to the calendar (pictured) for more events.

Local agencies that provide a host of services for abused or neglected children and families include:

  • Cullman Caring for Kids: The vision of Cullman Caring for Kids is that no child will ever be abused, no child will go to bed hungry, no infant will ever be shaken in anger, and the cycle of abuse will be stopped. They strive to see the next generation loved, encouraged, physically and emotionally prepared to face life feeling wanted and needed, and they provide a variety of services to help accomplish their mission.
  • Child Advocacy Center (Brooks’ Place): Brooks’ Place coordinates a multidisciplinary team consisting of representatives from the District Attorney’s Office, Juvenile Probation, DHR, specialized medical and mental health professionals, and family/victim advocates in order to conduct forensic interviews of victims, provide no-cost counseling for victims and families, provide emotional support, attend criminal justice proceedings, and perform many other valuable services for victims. They also hold various events such as the Safe Kids Expo to promote safety and education about child abuse.
  • Cullman County Department of Human Resources (DHR): The DHR is required by Alabama state law to “seek out, through investigation, complaints from citizens, or otherwise, the minor children … in need of its care and protection and … aid such children to a fair opportunity in life.” They work closely with children and their parents or caretakers through direct counseling or referral to appropriate professionals or agencies, with the goal of keeping family units together if possible. When removal of children from their homes is necessary, the DHR makes plans for substitute care for the children and continuing to work with parents to prepare them for the possible return of their children.

For more information on “Child Abuse Prevention & Awareness Month,” please contact Cullman Caring for Kids at (256) 739-1111 or visit their web site at www.cullmancaringforkids.com or contact the Child Advocacy Center of Cullman (Brooks’ Place) at (256) 739-2243 or visit their web site at www.caccullman.org.

If you know a child who is being abused or neglected, please contact your local law enforcement agency, the Cullman County Health Department at 256-737-5300, or call the Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD.