CDHS, Illuminate Colorado Launch Child Abuse Prevention Month at Capitol Event
April 5, 2022
DENVER (April 1, 2022) — The Office of Children, Youth and Families (OCYF) at the Colorado Department of Human Services and Illuminate Colorado joined Colorado parents, state legislators, community partners and child advocates to launch Child Abuse Prevention Month at an event at the State Capitol today. The occasion reinforced the importance of organizations, individuals and communities working together to strengthen families, which is one of the most effective ways to prevent child abuse and neglect.
The event featured Dave Ehlert and Alexa Chenoweth, parents and caregivers who shared their stories about how programs and organizations in their communities have strengthened their families, as well as Illuminate Colorado board member Beverly Besha Moore. Event attendees joined thousands of people around the country in wearing blue to show support for promoting positive childhood experiences and officially launched a month-long campaign - #GrowingBetterTogether - to inspire Coloradans to grow a better tomorrow for all children by supporting and strengthening families.
“I’ve seen amazing collaboration happen with partners across the state throughout this pandemic to take care of families in their communities and ensure they have what they need to be successful and help their kids grow up healthy, strong and ready for school,” said Minna Castillo Cohen, director of OCYF. “We know that when families are connected and have access to concrete support in their community child maltreatment can be prevented. It truly takes all of us to ensure every child has the opportunity to thrive.”
In honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month, the Pinwheels for Prevention campaign provided pinwheels at the event. Thousands of free pinwheels will be given out throughout the month to raise awareness of the importance of positive childhood experiences. “When parents, caregivers, family, friends, neighbors, employers and elected leaders work together to increase five critical protective factors in families’ lives, that is when we can prevent child abuse, strengthen families and build brighter childhoods,” said Besha Moore.
Last year, calls to the hotline began to bounce back from a low in 2020, which was driven in part by many mandatory reporters not seeing kids in person at schools, childcare settings or doctor appointments. As Coloradans began to return to pre-pandemic levels of activities in 2021, calls to the hotline increased overall by 8%. Local county human service agencies assessed the safety of more than 34,890 children. Of those children, 7,512 children experienced abuse or neglect and an additional 4,508 children’s families received voluntary support from social services to help strengthen their families and prevent child abuse or neglect in the future.
We all play a role in strengthening families and preventing child abuse and neglect. Some examples of how community partners and neighbors can lend support to families include:
- Offer to babysit to give parents a break
- Coordinate a meal sign-up calendar for new parents or a neighborhood family in need
- Organize a neighborhood party so families can meet each other
- Ask a family if they need something picked up the next time you run to the store
In addition to doing their part to help strengthen families, all Coloradans are encouraged to call the C04Kids Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline (1-844-CO-4-Kids or 844-264-5437) if they suspect a child may be experiencing abuse or neglect.
Child Abuse Prevention Month is hosted and funded jointly by CDHS, Illuminate Colorado — the Colorado chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America, and SafeCare Colorado.
The Colorado Department of Human Services CO4Kids campaign encourages all Coloradans to help strengthen families and communities. To learn about the signs of child abuse and neglect and for information about how to become a foster or adoptive parent, visit CO4Kids.org. Call 844-CO-4-Kids (844-264-5437) to report concerns about child abuse and neglect. If a child or teen is in immediate danger, dial 9-1-1.
About Illuminate Colorado
Illuminate Colorado, the Colorado chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America, is a statewide nonprofit strengthening families, organizations and communities to prevent child maltreatment. With a research-based approach that emphasizes building promotive and protective factors, we address systemic and multi-sector issues by collaborating with families and partners at the community, state and national level to develop and implement powerful programs, policies and initiatives that keep kids safe in Colorado. Visit www.IlluminateColorado.org to learn more.