Visit our photo gallery to see pictures of pinwheel gardens and other child abuse prevention month activities from across the state!
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The future success of our state relies on the healthy growth and development of all children. When we work together to ensure their healthy development, the next generation pays it back through a lifetime of productivity and responsible citizenship. With the support of engaged communities and nurturing families, all children can thrive and have the opportunity to grow into contributing, caring, and healthy adults.
Children's healthy development is the foundation for community and economic development. Research tells us that children's experiences literally build the developing architecture of their maturing brains. Children's brains are built in a sequence of phases, with each phase forming the foundation for the one that follows. Just like a house needs a strong foundation, the quality of a child's brain architecture affects all the development that follows. That's why getting it right the first time is so important. Trying to change behavior or build new skills on a foundation that was not built properly is costly and not as effective.
Children thrive when they have nurturing, supportive relationships and interactions with the adults in their lives. Like the process of serve and return in a game of tennis, children of all ages naturally reach out to the adults in their lives. When those adults respond in a caring, nurturing and supportive way, children thrive.
When children are abused or neglected they are in a constant state of stress. In the absence of supportive relationships to help buffer the stress, they can have a toxic stress reaction. When this happens, harmful chemicals flood the child's brain and body causing damage to the developing brain architecture, disrupting normal child development. This leaves children vulnerable, causing many of them to adopt risky social and health behaviors, such as smoking, sexual promiscuity at an early age, and illegal drug and alcohol use, among others. These risky behaviors lead to poor physical, emotional, and mental health and even early death.
There must be a continuum of services available in communities to ensure all children have the opportunity to grow into contributing citizens. When communities are successful in assuring that children have the environments and experiences necessary for their healthy development, the next generation responds to that effort with a lifetime of productivity and responsible citizenship. We now know that we can prevent abuse and neglect before it occurs. When parents have the knowledge, skills, resources, and social support they need they are better able to provide the safe, stable, nurturing environments their children need to thrive.
We offer tools to help you create awareness of the importance of preventing abuse and neglect in your community, and tools to help the families you work with build nurturing "serve and return" relationships with their children. Click the links below to find information about working with the media, involving elected officials, planning pinwheel garden events, and much more.
Tips for Working With the Media - tools and tips for working with the media and sample media materials (press releases, public service announcements, letters to the editor, etc.)
Involving Elected Officials in Your April Event - tools and tips for engaging elected officials in your Child Abuse Prevention Month activities, including sample invitations
Parent Pages - timely topics of interest to parents that can be downloaded and printed to distribute to parents
Plant a Pinwheel Garden - tools for planning pinwheel gardens, ideas for using pinwheels, tools for encouraging your community to plant a pinwheel garden, downloadable pinwheel garden sign that can be customized with your organization's name and/or logo
Pinwheel Activities for Families - downloadable coloring sheets, instructions for making your own pinwheels, and resources about the importance of playing with children
Online Store - forms to order materials and pinwheels
Statistics and Research - links to child abuse and neglect research and data
Recognizing and Responding to Abuse and Neglect - information about the effects of child abuse and neglect, what to do when you suspect child maltreatment, and links to information about DSS' Multiple Response System
If you need more information or have any questions, please contact Kristie Demers, Communications Associate.