Against a backdrop of symbolic blue pinwheels, Montgomery County leaders kicked off Child Abuse Prevention Month on Tuesday.
“The message of the campaign is simple,” Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett said in a statement. “One person can make a difference in a child’s life.”
The child abuse prevention campaign called "The Power of One" was kicked off in Rockville. The campaign is a national effort sponsored by Prevent Child Abuse.
The blue pinwheels—"Pinwheels for Prevention"—were meant to be a reminder of childhood and “the bright future that all children deserve.”
The idea is to encourage adults to become foster parents or mentors, to report suspected abuse and to be there for parents who are having a hard time adjusting.
Leggett was joined by County Council Vice President Craig Rice, D-Germantown, in launching the campaign.
“About five children in our nation die every day as a result of child abuse,” Rice said in a statement. “This campaign emphasizes that one person can save a life, making a choice to make a difference, whether it is through reporting suspected abuse or caring for an at-risk child. We all must do our part to help children in our community.”
According to county records, more than 1,500 children in Montgomery County were abused or neglected by their caretakers in 2012. That same year, there were more than 2,500 investigations into reports of suspected abuse or neglect.
Agnes Leshner, senior administrator for Child Welfare Services, part of the County’s Department of Health and Human Services, said Montgomery County had a committed group of foster and adoptive parents.
“But, we are also asking each person to think about how they can help children and families who are in need right here in our community,” Leshner said in the statement.
In addition to the Power of One campaign, the county is encouraging people to sign up for the “Tour de Cookie” bike ride on Sunday, April 14. The ride—either 14 or 40 miles—begins and ends at Montgomery College’s Rockville campus.
Proceeds benefit Tree House Child Advocacy Center for Montgomery County, which helps child victims of physical and sexual abuse.