PDAA Pinwheel Garden Marks Child Abuse Prevention Month
Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association is observing Child Abuse Prevention Month with a pinwheel garden in order to call attention to the issue of child abuse and statewide solutions that coordinate investigation, prosecution and treatment of child abuse victims.
“District Attorneys throughout Pennsylvania hope that this pinwheel garden will help increase public awareness about the safety and welfare of Pennsylvania’s children, including the need to increase access to Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) in Pennsylvania,” said PDAA President and Adams County District Attorney Shawn Wagner.
The PDAA garden is comprised of 240 blue and silver pinwheels. Each pinwheel represents 100 children of the over 24,000 reports of suspected child abuse that were made in 2011, according to the annual report issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare.
“In 2011 there were over 24,000 children who could have benefited from the comprehensives services of Children’s Advocacy Centers provide,” said Wagner. “With so many reports of suspected child abuse in Pennsylvania, Child Abuse Prevention Month is an ideal time to bring into focus real, workable solutions, like CACs, that will help the children.”
Expanding access to CACs is a PDAA priority because their comprehensive services focus on the treatment, prosecution and prevention of child abuse. The Pennsylvania Task Force on Child Protection also recommended expanding access of child victims to Children’s Advocacy Centers. Currently only 20 out of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties have CACs and there is no dedicated funding source supporting their efforts.
Two bills supported by PDAA have passed the state House and are currently in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The first, H.B. 316 would impose a fee on convicted criminals that would be dedicated to financially supporting CACs. The second H.B. 89 would transfer funding from a discontinued drug education program to CACs.