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Flag-Raising to Recognize Child Abuse Prevention Month

Dramatic Display to Illustrate “Step Up for Prevention”

Springfield (April 10, 2012)— Dr. Stephen Boos, Medical Director of the Family Advocacy Center at Baystate Children’s Hospital and Alicia Lenahan, Chief Development Officer for the Children’s Trust Fund will both speak at a flag-raising ceremony to recognizing April as Child Abuse Prevention Month on Wednesday, April 11, at 10 a.m. at Springfield City Hall.

Ms. Lenahan will be speaking about the Children’s Trust Fund effort known as “Step Up for Prevention.” To illustrate the topic there will be a display of 121 pairs of children’s shows to represent the average number of children abused each week in Hampden County, based on information from the Mass. Department of Children and Families.

The Boston Bruins Foundation donated the money to purchase the shoes for the Springfield event. CTF will distribute these shoes to parents in CTF-funded programs: Healthy Families of Greater Springfield, operated by Square One, Inc.; Healthy Families Holyoke, operated by the Mass. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children; and the Franklin County Family Network/Family Center in Greenfield, operated by Community Action! of the Franklin, Hampshire and North Quabbin Regions.

The display, called “Step Up for Prevention,” commemorates April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. It started March 28 at the State House with a display of 622 shoes, representing the average number of children abused each week in Massachusetts.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno will deliver a proclamation and dozens of area human and social services agency directors and staff, as well as area school children, will participate in the event, including CHD (Center for Human Development), Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, HCS Head Start, Dunbar Community Center, Square One, Early Childhood Center, Gandara Center, New North Citizens Council, Children’s Study Home, state Department of Children and Families, Mass. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, and the state Department of Youth Services.

April was first declared “Child Abuse Prevention Month” by presidential proclamation in 1985. Since then, organizations dedicated to protecting children have used this special time of year to acknowledge the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse in all its forms. By ensuring that all parents in our community have access to quality childcare, affordable health services, parenting education resources, and substance abuse and mental health programs, we make progress toward child abuse prevention. Jim Goodwin, President and CEO of CHD, the event organizer, extended an invitation to all area organizations. “We encourage everyone committed to preventing child abuse to join us on April 11 at Springfield City Hall,” he said.

The centerpiece of the event is the raising of a flag that depicts children as blue silhouettes on a red background, a missing middle child symbolizing all children who have been lost to violence. Springfield’s flag-raising joins nearly 300 events flying flags in 101 cities over all 50 states. The Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) urges anyone who can to fly the flag all month long in support of efforts to protect children from harm. Nearly 3 million children are reported abused and neglected each year in the United States, according to CWLA.

CHD is also coordinating a flag-raising event in Holyoke on April 5. Amherst and Westfield are planning flag-raising events for later in the month.

For more information, please contact John Roberson, vice president of CHD’s Children and Families division at (413) 439-2243 or jroberson@chd.org



About CHD: Founded in 1972, the nonprofit Center for Human Development (CHD) is a family of more than 40 programs that deliver a wide range of social services in communities throughout western Massachusetts and northwestern Connecticut in areas such as mental health, youth mentoring, family stabilization, foster care, cancer support, early intervention, elder care, occupational therapy, intellectual and physical disabilities, homelessness prevention, substance abuse, and juvenile justice. Our main office is located at 332 Birnie Ave., Springfield, MA 01107 (413) 733-6624. For a complete list and description of programs and services, please go to our Web site at www.chd.org


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