Everybody can lend a hand to help prevent child abuse, says Carole Swiecicki, executive director of The Dee Norton Lowcountry Children’s Center.
And she wants to draw a lot of attention to the issue during the month of April, which is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Her group is participating in the Pinwheels for Prevention campaign by placing a garden of blue pinwheels on its grounds.
The Children’s Trust of South Carolina is the state chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America and leads the awareness campaign in South Carolina.
“We’re trying to drive adults to know it’s everybody’s responsibility” to protect children, Swiecicki said. People can listen to their children and their children’s friends, point out resources to families in stressful situations or call the S.C. Department of Social Services to report abuse they know is happening, she said.
The Dee Norton Lowcountry Children’s Center in 2014 assessed 1,350 children for abuse.
Charleston Mayor Joe Riley, who spoke at a campaign kick-off at the center Wednesday, said the effort is important because childhood should be “a happy, creative, wholesome, growing time.”
Heather Woolwine, chairwoman of the Children’s Trust’s Communication Committee, said 74,000 blue pinwheels, a symbol of a happy childhood, will be placed around South Carolina this month.
But it will take a full-time community effort to make a difference in the state. “Children will be safe when families are strong,” Woolwine said. “And families will be strong when communities wrap support and care around them.”
Reach Diane Knich at 937-5491 or on Twitter at @dianeknich.