Harrisburg, PA – Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller joined advocates at the annual Child Abuse Prevention Month Awards Ceremony hosted by Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance (PFSA) on April 3, 2019. This event honors individuals who have made work to improve the lives and safety of Pennsylvania’s children a priority and marks Child Abuse Prevention Month, which is recognized in the month of April.
“Protecting children from abuse and neglect requires involvement from all of us – families, educators, social services workers, law enforcement, and everyday citizens – we all share responsibility,” said Secretary Miller. “All children deserve to live in a safe and protected environment, free from harm and neglect. We must continue our efforts to prevent abuse and protect children around Pennsylvania.”
The Wolf Administration encourages all Pennsylvanians to cherish our children and join in protecting them from all forms of physical, sexual, emotional abuse, and harm. DHS believes that protecting Pennsylvania’s children from abuse and neglect is a shared responsibility. Protecting children from abuse and neglect unites lawmakers, community partners, the child protective services system, citizens, and families to provide a safe environment for children throughout the commonwealth.
During the month of April, the Children’s Memorial Flag and Banner will be displayed outside the Health and Welfare Building in honor of children who have died as a result of child abuse or neglect. The department encourages all Pennsylvanians to wear blue and display blue ribbon pins to raise awareness of the importance of child abuse prevention.
In order to review and learn from past instances of child abuse fatalities and near fatalities, DHS convened a trend analysis team comprised of staff across multiple state agencies, partners in the General Assembly and local government, and child welfare advocates. The team approaches child abuse as a public health issue that requires collaborative, multidisciplinary partnerships, strengthened prevention efforts and improved ways to identify signs and cases of abuse before a fatality or near-fatality occurs. The team’s first report was recently released, and work is underway to implement recommendations and encourage stronger collaboration.
PFSA works to prevent child abuse and protect children from harm by helping parents learn positive parenting techniques, educating professionals and volunteers who work with children to recognize and report child abuse, and helping community members learn how they can play a positive role in keeping children safe. PFSA offers a suite of bilingual training programs, including free, in-person mandated reporter training, in how to recognize and report suspected child abuse.
“The number of blue flags around the Capitol and along State Street have increased this year, showing more children have endured maltreatment, many at the hands of those who were to most love and cherish them,” said Angela Liddle, President and CEO of Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance. “Today PFSA thanks those who have dedicated their careers, and given of their volunteer time to better protect PA’s children. The 2019 PA Blue Ribbon Champions for Safe Kids Award winners are shining examples of people working to prevent child abuse and neglect by strengthening families. May they inspire each citizen to be part of the solution and learn how to best protect Pennsylvania’s most precious resource – our children.”
Suspected child abuse can be reported to DHS’ toll-free ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313. For more information on how to identify potential child abuse or neglect, visit www.KeepKidsSafe.pa.gov.
To learn more about the #ProtectPAKids campaign, visit www.pablueribbonchampion.org.