April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

Child Abuse Prevention Month 2013
Paterno Family to Speak at PFSA Event

Each April, Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance (PFSA) observes Child Abuse Prevention Month with a variety of events across the state aimed at raising awareness that, often, child abuse can be prevented by educating the public about ways to help children and support parents. The nationwide event began in 1989 when one grandmother hung a blue ribbon on her car in remembrance of her grandson, who had died at the hands of an abusive stepfather. She chose blue ribbons to symbolize the bruises – often hidden – that children have as a result of abuse. Blue ribbons are now the national symbol of child abuse prevention, and PFSA is proud to sponsor Child Abuse Prevention Month in Pennsylvania.

This year, we will kick off the month with our annual legislative breakfast on Wednesday, April 10 at the Harrisburg Hilton and Towers. The family of the late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno will provide our keynote address, with remarks on child abuse prevention and the urgent need for awareness on how to recognize and respond to suspected abuse.

“We are pleased to welcome the Paterno family as we kick off Child Abuse Awareness Month. We believe that what they have to share will be helpful to many people. Their participation is part of our commitment to leading the state in creating awareness and educational trainings to prevent and recognize the signs of child abuse throughout the Commonwealth,” Angela Liddle, Executive Director of PFSA said, pointing out that PFSA programs reach into classrooms, community groups, camps and sports organizations.

Jay Paterno, son of Joe Paterno, talked about his family’s desire to be part of the solution to child abuse. “One of my father’s last thoughts before he passed was written on a pad of paper on his nightstand. He wrote that maybe the one thing good that can come from all of this is that we can create more awareness of this issue. My family is committed to helping everyone become more aware of child abuse, especially the signs of sexual child abuse. We are grateful to PFSA and their dedication to mandated reporter training programs and awareness,” he said.

In addition to the keynote presentation, PFSA will announce the winner of the third Michael A. O’Pake Memorial Award for Media Public Service and recognize the work of Senator Pat Vance, who led the fight for passage of Act 126, requiring training on child abuse recognition and reporting to school personnel. We will also receive proclamations for Child Abuse Prevention Month from Governor Tom Corbett’s office, as well as the state House of Representatives and Senate. Click here for April breakfast tickets.

We will also continue our “Painting for Prevention” events for the sixth year. A collaborative mural will be created on Saturday, April 20 from 10 AM to 2 PM at the Nittany Mall in State College. The event is free and open to the public. Several Centre County organizations will be on hand with children’s games, crafts and a reading corner, as well as information for parents and other caregivers of children. An additional mural will be created by fathers at the Harrisburg Community Corrections Center (PA Department of Corrections); the mural will depict their experiences in reuniting with their children following incarceration.

To learn more about our “Painting for Prevention” event click here.

For more information on how the national symbol for child abuse prevention – the blue ribbon – came to be, and what you can do to prevent child abuse, click here.