We All Play a Role in Keeping Children Safe
October is recognized by Children’s Aid Societies across the province as Child Abuse Prevention Month. During this time, Societies are spreading a message that focuses on knowing the signs of abuse and neglect, that child safety and family well-being begin in the community, and that everyone has a duty to report if they believe a child or youth is at risk.
It is estimated that 47% of Ontarians know someone who was exposed to, or is the victim of, child abuse or neglect. All citizens can protect children by being alert to the subtle and obvious signs of abuse and knowing when and who to call to help a child at risk of harm.
Our hope is that every child or youth is able to grow up in surroundings free of abuse or neglect. Unfortunately, this is not always the reality of the situation and in fact over 165,000 referrals about possible abuse or neglect were received by Children’s Aid Societies in Ontario last year. Close to 48,000 families received ongoing protection services from a Children’s Aid after an investigation.
With an increased focus on working with families earlier, in the vast majority of cases children were able to remain at home while Children’s Aid Societies worked with families to strengthen their parenting capacity and create a more stable future for their children.
For more than two decades, CASs have been raising awareness during October for Child Abuse Prevention. Community members are encouraged to wear a purple ribbon to help create awareness of the fact that by working together we can all help to keep children safe and provide support to families in need. In addition, once again this year Eastern Zone Children’s Aid Societies are working together to promote Dress Wear Purple Day on October 17th an initiative designed to increase awareness about this important issue.
Community members in Hastings, Prince Edward and Northumberland Counties can also show their support by wearing purple to the Belleville Bulls home game on October 5th, 4:05 p.m., the Wellington Dukes home game, 7:30 p.m. on October 10th, the Port Hope Panthers home game on October 11th, 7:30 p.m. and the Picton Pirates home game on October 16th at 7:30 p.m.
If you have a concern about a child, or are in need of support, contact Highland Shores Children’s Aid at 800-267-0570.