Home • Camden County News Prevent Child Abuse ‘plants’ seeds of awareness for April

Prevent Child Abuse ‘plants’ seeds of awareness for April

Garden at Challenge Grove Park to remain through rest of month

Prevent Child Abuse New Jersey planted a pinwheel garden at Challenge Grove Park in Cherry
Hill in recognition of April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month. The pinwheels have been
played with by park goers who left some tucked away with flowers. They will remain at the park
through the rest of April. (EMILY LIU/The Sun)

Prevent Child Abuse New Jersey has planted its first pinwheel garden at Cherry Hill’s Challenge Grove Park as part of April’s National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

The garden was planted on April 18 and will remain for the rest of the month. Pamela Stalcup, director of development and communications for Prevent Child Abuse, explained how the effort raises awareness of child abuse.

“The pinwheel was specifically chosen because it’s fun, joyful and has a connotation of childlike notions,” she said. “So we think it’s a very good emblem of a healthy and happy childhood that every child deserves.”

New Brunswick-based Prevent Child Abuse New Jersey is a statewide nonprofit that aims to   prevent abuse and neglect year-round by offering education, support services and staff training. It was founded in 1979 and is a chapter of the national organization, Prevent Child Abuse America.

According to Stalcup, common causes of child abuse include stress, lack of education and     positive parenting influences, mental illness and isolation. Prevent Child Abuse instructs  parents on developmental milestones for children, positive parenting and healthy child development, and offers support services such as home visits to show parents how to form healthy bonds with their babies and create safe environments.

“We believe everybody has a role to play in preventing abuse and neglect,” Stalcup noted. “It’s as simple as giving the parents a break sometime and offering to help them, or giving them words of support like, ‘You’re doing a great job.’”

The nonprofit’s impact can be seen through its Parent Linking Program, which supports teen parents at eight New Jersey high schools. While the CDC reports only a 50-percent graduation rate for the nation’s teen parents, Prevent Child Abuse has attained a 95-percent rate for its students. Ninety percent plan to attend college and 98 percent have avoided a second pregnancy.

Prevent Child Abuse New Jersey’s program also offers free child care to teen parents in exchange for their attendance at weekly sessions with peers and school social workers. That’s where they learn valuable life skills, such as how to talk to a pediatrician and how to co-parent.

The nonprofit also advises the community to report to the state when abuse is suspected.

“In New Jersey, it’s every adult’s responsibility to report any suspected case of abuse or neglect (Division of Child Protection & Permanency),” Stalcup said. “You don’t have to substantiate it. … If a reasonable person has some trepidation, you can report it anonymously.”

To learn more about Prevent Child Abuse New Jersey, visit https://www.preventchildabusenj.org.  

To report abuse or neglect, call the New Jersey’s Child Abuse/Neglect Hotline is (877) NJ ABUSE (652-2873).

This article was updated on April 27 to correct the formerly called Division of Family and Youth Services to the Division of Child Protection and Permanency.

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