Residents urged to work to prevent child abuse

Since 1985, April has been nationally recognized as Child Abuse Prevention Month and Gov. Rick Snyder has officially declared it such once again in Michigan.

The Michigan Children's Trust Fund has used this time each year to acknowledge the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child maltreatment in all of its forms.

Officials note that recent news stories have highlighted the need for people to speak up if they see or fear something is happening to a child.

Michigan’s toll-free child abuse hotline, 855.444.3911, is professionally staffed 24/7 year round.

“We can be a powerful voice for Michigan’s children and work together to prevent child abuse and neglect,” said Nick Lyon, interim director of Michigan Department of Human Services. “Whether we’re focusing on improving our services to children through our programs, or calling to report concerns to Michigan’s child abuse hotline, we all play a role in ensuring our children are safe and protected.”

Between now and April 15, officials say, one way for taxpayers to help is to contribute to the Children’s Trust Fund (CTF) when they’re filing Michigan state income tax forms.

All funds raised through this check off go directly to efforts to protect Michigan children.

A highlight of the month is the seventh annual Michigan Prevention Awareness Day rally scheduled for 11 a.m. on Thursday, April 23.

This year the theme is the “Power of One” to signify that one person, one community, one dollar or one action can be life changing for a child.

Highlights of this day are a rally, procession and the planting of a pinwheel garden to show support for child abuse prevention programs in the state.

The pinwheel is the national symbol of child abuse and neglect prevention. It also symbolizes the belief that every child has the right to grow and flourish to his/her full potential within a nurturing environment.

Prevention Awareness Day also serves as a legislative education day by giving advocates the opportunity to discuss prevention needs and current programming in Michigan with legislators.

“The Children's Trust Fund is excited and pleased to see our partners from across the state of Michigan engage in numerous public awareness efforts and activities,” said CTF Director Michael Foley. “This is another opportunity to set the stage for a positive and affirmative commitment for all Michigan citizens to do their part to help assure that Michigan children are treated with dignity and respect.”

CTF, currently housed within the Michigan Department of Human Services, serves as a voice for Michigan’s children and families and promotes their health, safety and welfare by funding effective local programs and services that prevent child abuse and neglect.

Since 1982, CTF has generated more than $60 million to support prevention programs and services in communities.

Additionally, CTF funds 73 local child abuse and neglect prevention councils that serve all of Michigan’s 83 counties and administers more than 20 community-based direct service grants across the state.