Advocacy center raises child abuse awareness

Published 7:53 pm Friday, March 25, 2016

The Central Alabama Regional Child Advocacy Center invites the community to plant a pinwheel garden in April for Child Abuse Prevention Month.

This will be the third year the garden will be planted to recognize the children of Dallas County who have been victims of abuse.

Laurie Cothran, executive director of the Central Alabama Regional Child Advocacy Center, said it is important for the community to come together and let victims know they are recognized and loved.

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“We have to help children and make sure they feel safe from abuse,” Cothran said.

The main responsibility of the center is to provide locations for the Department of Human Resources and other child protection agencies to interview children who say they have been abused.

Every year there is a pinwheel placed in the garden for each child involved in an abuse investigation. This year 400 children out of Dallas County will be recognized.

The center will provide pinwheels to everyone who comes out to plant in the garden. The ceremony will be in front of Selma City Hall located at 222 Broad Street on April 12 at 4:30 p.m.

Cothran said people will hear the stats of child abuse cases within the county, information about child abuse prevention month and the advocacy center in a short ceremony. The pinwheel garden will remain until the end of April.

“I think when people are aware of a situation, they can be more prepared to help prevent it. When we think how pinwheels are symbolic of a happy childhood. Every child deserves that,” Cothran said.

She said when people realize every pinwheel that they hold in their hand represents an abused child, it drives home the point.

Pinwheel gardens will also be placed in Bibb, Hale, Perry and Wilcox counties.

Another project that the center has done to raise awareness for child abuse prevention this year is a T-shirt fundraiser.

“We’ve had many sponsors to donate to this fundraiser and a lot of people to buy the T-shirts. People who buy them are asked to wear them every Friday in the month of April,” Cothran said.

She said the T-shirts are also a great way for people of the community to share information about the child advocacy center.

The center will also celebrate its sixth year anniversary in April. Cothran said a support group for parents of child abuse victims is in the plans for the near future. She said they are trying to continue to add services that can be provided to the children.

For more information on The Central Alabama Regional Child Advocacy Center, search them on Facebook by name or call at (334) 875-0890.