Pinwheels ‘planted’ for child abuse awareness

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, April 20, 2016

If you see pinwheels popping up across the parish, think of child abuse.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and the state, along side the nonprofit group, Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana (PCAL), have partnered to remind everyone to be on the lookout for potential abuse and neglect. The pinwheels are accompanied with signs that say, “Healthy neighborhoods start with healthy kids.”

Leigh Taylor, the child welfare manager for the Washington Parish Department of Children and Family Services, said that means everyone — even those without children — must be on alert for signs of abuse or neglect.

“It’s a community effort,” she said. “If you suspect child abuse or neglect, you should report it.”

The number to report abuse and neglect is 1-855-4LA-KIDS, or 1-855-452-5437.

Leslie Lyons, the manager of the Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline for the state, said people who call and report suspected abuse or neglect do not have to leave their name.

Across the state, Lyons said the hotline gets about 100,000 calls a year and of those, about 25,000 result in investigations. Not all of those cases are found to be abuse or neglect, but in 2013 the state did determine that at least 10,119 children had been abused or neglected, according to numbers from PCAL.

So far in Washington Parish, this year there have been 203 calls and 96 investigations. Lyons said that is a low number, compared to other parishes.