Wearing blue to support children

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 7, 2023

April is child abuse prevention, awareness month

The public is being asked to be an everyday hero by wearing blue to support the prevention of child abuse and neglect.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month.

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Missy Evans children, services administrator at the Lawrence County Department of Job and Family Services, said Lawrence County Children Services and the Whole Child Committee are coming to promote awareness of a very serious issue.

“March 31 is Prevent Child Abuse America’s Wear Blue day and April 12 is Ohio’s Wear Blue day,” she said. “So we are asking all community partners to join us in the mission of raising awareness across Lawrence County that child abuse and neglect are a real thing happening here in Lawrence County and prevention is essential.”

They are also asking the community to post photos of themselves wearing blue on those dates on social media and then tagging the Jobs and Family Services and the Lawrence County Commissioners’ Facebook pages.

They are also asking kids to help raise awareness with a contest.

“It is a drawing contest for kindergarten through fifth grade students across the county,” Evans explained. “And the them is ‘Be a Hero in the Eyes of a Child.’”

There will be one winner in every grade and they will be presented with a prize and a certificate of recognition at the April 4 commissioners meeting.

“And all of the artwork that is submitted will be on display in the rotunda of the third floor of the courthouse throughout the month of April,” she said. 

The Whole Child Committee, which Evans is the chair of and was started by commissioner DeAnna Holliday, was created to link all community services and community providers together.

“We are trying bridge the gap between services so we can better serve the children in the county,” Evans said.

Lawrence County Children Services has about 250 open investigations into child abuse or neglect and 83 in their care.

Often, the only way that Children Services becomes aware of these cases is because the child tells someone that they are comfortable with, like a bus driver or a teacher or a youth leader.

“That is why we are trying to bridge those gaps, to improve communication between everyone so we can identify child abuse or neglect better here in the county,” Evans said.