BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Local and state leaders gathered at the Governor's Mansion Tuesday morning to start a campaign to raise awareness about Child Abuse Prevention.
First Lady of Louisiana Donna Edwards was joined by East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore, Department of Child Families Services Marketa Walters and East Baton Rouge Coroner Beau Clark in kicking off the "Pass the Pinwheel" campaign.
The "Pass the Pinwheel" was created by the non-profit organization Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana.
"Every year, over 11,000 of Louisiana's children are victims are abuse and neglect. 2,500 are infants under the age of one. Child abuse does not discriminate by gender or race. Every child is vulnerable and every one victim is one too many," the First Lady told attendees.
The pinwheel was introduced as a symbol of child abuse awareness ten years ago by Prevent Child Abuse America.
"Preventing child abuse starts with safe, stable, nurturing relationships. We want to say thank you to those who are a part of those relationships by handing out pinwheels – the national symbol for happy, healthy childhoods – and encouraging others to 'pass the pinwheel' with us," said Amanda Brunson, executive director of Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana.
First Lady Edwards declared April Child Abuse Prevention month. She invited the Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana to bring the pinwheels to the Governor's mansion after learning about the program.
Officials at the event called upon Louisiana residents to volunteer with child enrichment programs and reminded parents to not be afraid to ask for help.
Other organizations that partnered with the campaign include Baton Rouge Children's Advocacy Center, the Baton Rouge Police Department, Catholic Charities, the state Department of Children and Family Services, the state Department of Health, Front Yard Bikes, Louisiana CASA Association, the Louisiana Child Welfare Training Academy, the Louisiana Children's Trust Fund, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response (STAR), the Life of a Single Mom and Volunteers of America of Greater Baton Rouge.
Since 1986 Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana, the local affiliate of Prevent Child Abuse America, has been dedicated to preventing the abuse and neglect of children throughout Louisiana. From help with potty training to keeping kids safe from sexual abuse, PCA Louisiana supports parents and children with evidence-based programs and community-based education. For more information, to volunteer or to donate, visit www.pcal.org.