As the family intervention program coordinator for the Children's Cabinet, Nevada first lady Kathleen Sandoval deals daily with issues of child abuse and neglect.
"It's an awful injustice these kids have to go through every day," she said Monday at the annual Pinwheels for Prevention ceremony in front of the Nevada Legislature. "In many cases, these children are lost to us forever."
She and other supporters planted more than 100 pinwheels in the lawn in front of the Legislature to draw attention to the fact that this is Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month. Sandoval said the idea is to draw attention to signs of abuse and increase awareness so that more cases are discovered earlier.
"This event helps us change the way we think about children," she said. "Every single Nevadan has a role to play."
Shauna Chase, who organized the event this year, said there are some 3 million reports of child abuse or neglect in this country every year, 25,000 of them in Nevada.
"Carson City last year had 64 substantiated reports," Chase said.
The group, she said, includes representatives not only from Children's Cabinet but the attorney general's office, the Carson City District Attorney's Office, the Child and Family Services Division, Ron Wood Center, Advocates to End Domestic Violence and the Tri-County Early Childhood Advisory Council.
"All of us are coming together to put a public face on child abuse prevention," said Chase.
This is the second year in a row Sandoval has joined the pinwheels event. She said the data from the past year shows an alarming trend in which the abusers are the partners of the mothers. One initiative is an effort to educate mothers to screen the men they are bringing into their homes before leaving their children with them. She said that although the number of cases hasn't really gone up that much, the degree of abuse has increased.
Where to get help:
• The Tri-County council has produced a resource directory that can be accessed online to help parents and others find services available in cases of abuse and neglect. It can be found at www.gethealthycarsoncity.org/en/human services/overview.html
• Advocates to End Domestic Violence: 883-7654
• Ron Wood Family Resource Center: 884-2269
• Nevada Division of Child and Family Services: 684-4400
• For more information about Prevent Child Abuse, go to www.pinwheelsforprevention.org
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