April marks National Child Abuse Prevention Month

CARTERET COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) – April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and counties in the East are kicking off the month by bringing awareness.

This morning, in recognition of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, Carteret County officials, businesses, and community members will plant a pinwheel garden on the grounds of the Carteret County Courthouse at 9:30 a.m.

The pinwheel serves as the national symbol of child abuse prevention, representing the hope, health, and happiness of all children.

Following the planting ceremony, a community walk will be held to show support, and attendees are encouraged to wear blue.

Child Protect reports that abused and neglected children are 11 times more likely to engage in criminal behavior as an adult.

Carteret County DSS Child Welfare Program Manager, Kody Krebs, says it’s important to provide support and awareness due to the influx of people seen.

“Just in 2023, we received over 900 reports of child abuse and neglect and accepted more than 500 of those. At any given time, we’re serving more than 60 children in foster care. Last year we served more than 100 families in in-home care which is where we try to prevent families from entering into the foster care system. So, it’s incredibly important and takes the entire community to work with families and support our families,” Krebs told WITN.

Pinwheel gardens are planted across the country during April to raise awareness for the cause.

Krebs says community members and businesses unable to attend can still participate by planting pinwheels at their homes or workplaces and sharing photos on social media.

Those involved are the Carteret County Department of Social Services, Carteret Children’s Advocacy Center, and the Carteret County Guardian Ad Litem Program.

Krebs says there are many services offered through the Carteret County DSS. “Medicaid to insurance options, food and nutrition services, emergency services to help pay heating, cooling, and water bills, all of those basic needs that children need and to support those children and families.”

For more information on the services offered and how to get involved, visit their website.