Any time a child is abused or neglected, it is a tragedy. Just last year, 180 children in our community were served by South Arkansas Children’s Coalition because of abuse or neglect.
The month of April is recognized across the nation as Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time to come together as a community to increase awareness and provide education and support to help prevent child abuse and neglect.
“Now more than ever, our families need us – organizations, governmental agencies, businesses, communities, neighborhoods, faith-based groups and individuals – to join together,” SACC Executive Director Robin Krneta said. “When we support families, we become a stronger, more resilient community, and children grow up happy, healthy and safe.”
What happens in childhood can last a lifetime. Scientific studies show that childhood adversity can have long-lasting negative health effects into adulthood, whereas healthy, happy and thriving children have better odds of becoming healthy and happy adults, a goal communities can all strive toward.
South Arkansas Children’s Coalition is joining prevention partners across the state and planting pinwheel gardens to show their commitment to preventing child abuse and neglect. The blue pinwheel is the national symbol for child abuse prevention, representing the happy, healthy childhoods all children should have.
“As Arkansas strives to give every child the opportunity to grow up healthy and happy, we know we must all work together,” Krneta said. “There is no single public agency, community organization or individual that can ensure success for our children. Together we grow a better tomorrow for Arkansas.”
To report suspected child abuse or neglect, call the statewide Arkansas Child Abuse Hotline at 1.844.SAVE.A.CHILD or 1.800.482.5964. For more information on South Arkansas Children’s Coalition visit www.southarkchildren.com.
South Arkansas Children’s Coalition is an umbrella organization that oversees two child welfare programs – 13th Judicial District South Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and the Children’s Advocacy Center of South Arkansas (CAC).
The CASA program recruits, trains and supports volunteers to advocate for children who have been removed from their home because of abuse or neglect and placed in foster care. CASA volunteers are a voice for the children, appointed by judges to advocate for children’s best interests throughout their time in foster care.
The CAC provides advocacy, trauma focused mental health therapy, medical exams and forensic interviews for children who have been victims of physical or sexual abuse. The CAC also provides free prevention education to the schools and community.