Government officials and child welfare advocates from public and private agencies joined together for Delaware’s fourth annual Blue Bow Ceremony April 25, in front of Legislative Hall in Dover in observance of National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
The Blue Bow is the nationally recognized symbol of child abuse prevention and serves as a reminder of the hidden bruises and scars of abused children. Child Abuse Prevention Month is observed nationwide during the month of April. The blue bow campaign began over 20 years ago when a grandmother in Virginia tied a blue bow around the antenna of her car as memorial to her grandson, a tragic victim of child abuse. Her simple act ignited a national campaign to prevent and stop child abuse.
Jennifer Ranji, secretary for the Delaware Children’s Department, presented a proclamation on behalf of Gov. Jack Markell, and Lt. Gov. Matt Denn, recognizing April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. “Today and throughout the year, we continue to highlight the importance of reporting suspected cases of child abuse and neglect to ensure child safety. It’s vitally important that each of us takes the time to learn the signs that may indicate abuse or neglect so that when you see the signs, you can make the call and potentially save a child's life." Ranji says indicators of child abuse and neglect can be found on the website www.iseethesigns.org.
Ranji was joined by State Sen. Ernie Lopez, R-Lewes, and State Rep. Debra Heffernan, D-Bellefonte; as well as Leslie Newman, CEO of Children & Families First; Karen Derasmo, executive director of Prevent Child Abuse Delaware (PCAD), representatives of the Child Advocacy Center, the Attorney General’s Office, CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocates) program, and many others.
“This month serves as a reminder to the entire country that we must protect children by strengthening and supporting families,” said Newman of Children & Families First. “Today and every day, we stand alongside our partners to build a better, safer future for children and families.”
Derasmo added: “Making a sound investment in our state’s future requires that all children regardless of wealth, geography or circumstances have the opportunity to learn and grow in safe, nurturing environments. Child Abuse Prevention Month provides all Delawareans with a wonderful reminder that everyone has a role to play in assuring that all children have the chance to develop intellectually, socially and emotionally. Investments in programs like home visiting and quality early care and education reap substantial dividends as child development translates into young men and women ready and able to contribute to our society.”
In 2012 more than 16,000 cases of child abuse, neglect, or dependency were reported in Delaware. Each month, approximately 700 children are in Delaware’s foster care system due to child abuse, neglect, or dependency. To report child abuse in Delaware, call the Child Abuse Report Line at 1-800-292-9582