Cullman Caring for Kids holds awareness event at Heritage Park

Participants in the awareness event prepare to release balloons in memory of the 21 children who died in Alabama last year due to abuse. (Photo courtesy of Tonja Grace/CCK)CULLMAN, Ala.

Cullman Caring for Kids (CCK) held an awareness event at Heritage Park Wednesday in observance of Child Abuse Prevention Month, decorating the park with blue pinwheels and ribbons, and placing crosses and releasing balloons for each of the 21 children who died in Alabama last year due to abuse or neglect. Representatives of Cullman County DHR, United Way and District Court were present, with District Judge Chad Floyd speaking. District Judge Rusty Turner read the names of the children as the balloons were released.

CCK assistant director Nancy Bryant told The Tribune, “Since 2005, Cullman Caring for Kids has brought attention to April Child Abuse Awareness Month. By either a balloon release, candlelight vigil or prayer walk or all the above. Our mission is to prevent child abuse before it effects the lives of the children for the rest of their life. We want to stop it every way we can. Today’s prayer walk is like a funeral for 21 children who died last year in Alabama because of abuse and neglect. Please reach out to the little ones who have been forgotten. Please!

“Be that person who helped a child have a happy childhood. Be big and strong for them. If we do our part, we can stop child abuse!”

CCK director Javon Daniel said, “We’re just so thankful for everybody that did come out. This is something our whole community faces. This is something we need to take very, very seriously, not just once a year but all the time. 

“If you see or suspect child abuse, report it; report to either law enforcement or Department of Human Resources. You can report it anonymously as a concerned citizen, but don’t let it go. This is too important to the lives of children.”

CCK’s Court Appointed Special Advocates program currently has 87 active cases involving abused or neglected children from Cullman County, and Daniel told The Tribune that the number of cases reported to DHR is much higher, since many cases are resolved before going to court.

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W.C. Mann