The Florida Child Abuse hotline received 12,354 reports of child abuse in Circuit 5 during 2013.
Over 4,000 children were verified victims of child abuse, neglect, and abandonment in Circuit 5 – Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Marion and Sumter Counties during 2013. Typically, child abuse and domestic violence occur behind closed doors making it a social ill difficult to readily identify. During the month of April, child advocates rally to raise awareness and increase child abuse prevention efforts in the community.
A shining, spinning pinwheel is a classic symbol of childhood. Together, Kids Central and its prevention provider, Devereux Kids, will plant large-scale pinwheel gardens in commemoration of the abused and neglected Marion County children. By working together, the partners will engage the Ocala community to recognize, combat and prevent child abuse. This year, Kids Central has also partnered with Ocala Health – West Marion Community Hospital and Ocala Regional Medical Center- to launch its largest pinwheel garden to date. Furthermore, Cunningham Funeral Home returns as a Child Abuse Prevention Partner and Howard Academy is joining the initiative. With the help of these gracious sponsors, 1,000s of pinwheels will spin on display for Ocala to observe and connect to the efforts focused on awareness and prevention.
“Today, the most common form of child maltreatment is neglect. Due to the rise in substance misuse, domestic violence and untreated mental illness, many children are being neglected,” detailed Kids Central CEO, John Cooper. “April gives us the chance to draw attention to this commonly out-of-sight-out-of-mind problem,” he finished.
“Ocala Health and Kids Central are perfect partners to raise awareness of child abuse and the importance of prevention. We both work to strengthen the Ocala community,” explained Ginger Carroll, Chief Executive Officer of West Marion Community Hospital. “We are excited to be a part of April’s Child Abuse Awareness activities and hope our residents will learn more about child abuse, neglect and abandonment,” she continued.
Excitingly, the largest pinwheel garden will be plated on SR 200 in front of West Marion Community Hospital. A short commencement ceremony will be held April 1st at 3:00 pm at the garden to dedicate the garden to the young lives impacted by abuse and the professionals who work to combat the issue. All are welcome to join in the ceremony or the other pinwheel plantings. Join Devereux and Kids Central on April 2nd at Cunningham Funeral Home. 434 NW Martin Luther King Jr Ave., Ocala at 10:00 am or at Howard Academy, 306 N.W. 7th Avenue, Ocala at 4:00 pm. The public is welcome to attend and help plant the pinwheels or simply view the garden.
For more information on these events or child abuse in the area, visit EndKidsTears.com.