Department Of Children And Families And Partners Kick Off Child Abuse Prevention Month

TALLAHASSEE – The Department of Children and Families (Department) Secretary Shevaun Harris joined key partners in recognizing April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and together planted pinwheels at the Department’s headquarters. Pinwheels are the national symbol for child abuse prevention and serve as a reminder of the happy and carefree environment desired for every child. Everyone can come together as a community to play a role in supporting families to prevent child abuse and neglect.

“The Department recognizes the importance communities working together to prevent child abuse and neglect,” said Secretary Shevaun Harris. “We will continue to collaborate with our partners to ensure the safety of all children in our state. We appreciate the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis, First Lady Casey DeSantis, and the Florida Legislature in supporting and funding implementation of evidenced based prevention programs that support children and families in need.”

“What an incredible kickoff with so many partners, to tangibly demonstration the collaboration, intentional efforts, and shifts that have occurred as we focus on prevention and supporting all Floridians at the earliest moment possible,” said Agency for Persons with Disabilities Director Taylor Hatch. “Thank you to Governor Ron DeSantis, First Lady Casey DeSantis, and Secretary Harris for your unrelenting dedication and constant drive today, and every day to elevate and amplify the importance of prevention and the role we all play.”

“The Florida Department of Health is honored to join its sister agencies and partners to emphasize Florida’s commitment to ensuring children have the opportunity to live safe and healthy lives,” said Florida Department of Health Chief of Staff Cassandra G. Pasley. “During this Child Abuse Prevention Month, we take time to highlight that nurturing environments and increased protective factors can build a strong foundation for children to thrive. Together, we can continue supporting a hopeful future for Florida’s children.”

“We will never stop moving upstream to strengthen families and communities before abuse or neglect occurs,” said Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida President and CEO Jennifer L. Ohlsen. “It is important that we reach children early in life because those first experiences will shape who they will one day become. We will continue to support our kids and families with the help they need before they are in crisis to make a positive impact in their lives and help them succeed.”

“Everyone has a role to play in promoting happy, healthy childhoods and empowering families to be resilient and strong,” said CEO of Better Together, Megan Rose. “We believe in building on the strengths of individuals, families, and communities to prevent problems before a crisis occurs. We are proud to partner with the Governor and First Lady, Secretary Harris, and the many organizations across our state in this important effort. Today, I am full of hope for the future of every one of Florida’s children.”

“It is an honor to come together with agency and community leaders to recognize Child Abuse Prevention Month and the important role we all play in ensuring our children are growing up in a safe environment where they are happy, healthy, and thriving,” said CEO of Safe Children Coalition, Brena Slater. “This Child Abuse Prevention Month, we recognize that promoting healthy families, strong communities, and raising awareness about protective factors can reduce the risk of child maltreatment.”

This month is a time when state agencies, community-based care providers, nonprofit organizations, behavioral health providers, and private industry partners work to strengthen the system of care to support Florida’s families. Children who are raised in a safe, stable, and nurturing environment perform better mentally, physically, emotionally, and academically. Child abuse and neglect are preventable, and all communities benefit when children and families are well supported.

Throughout Child Abuse Prevention Month, Prevent Child Abuse Florida, alongside other supporting organizations, works to prevent child abuse at every turn. The Department and Prevent Child Abuse Florida recognizes that all community members have a role in ensuring families have the resources they need to thrive, well before they are in crisis. The theme of this year’s awareness campaign is “Preventing Child Abuse at Every Turn.”