JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. --
In addition to being National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month and Month of the Military Child, April is also National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and the JBA Family Advocacy Program has been busy.
To increase attention on the cause, the folks there have been planting pinwheel gardens around the base, teaching students in the child development centers about emotional awareness and providing information to service members and their families on the services that the FAP provides.
According to the Children's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 676,000 American children were victims of abuse or neglect in 2016. By raising awareness of the national issue, FAP officials hope service members and their families will feel more comfortable reporting suspicion of abuse and take advantage of the many resources they provide.
“Child abuse is a national problem,” said Jenna Miller, FAP outreach manager. “That’s why NCAP has an observance month. Maltreatment in general does not turn a blind eye because we are in the military. The FAP is in place to be able to help those families that might need some intervention.”
The FAP is responsible for coordinating this month’s events and strive to educate the base on abuse prevention and reporting. Outreach tables were set up in various places around the base to raise awareness of NCAAM and provide more information on the FAP’s programs.
Karen Z. Silcott, FAP intervention specialist, visited CDC 1 to read the book “Have You Filled a Bucket Today” to the students. The book's message encourages children to understand how their actions affect others and vice versa.
“We are teaching them that they have an impact on each other’s lives,” Silcott said.
The FAP also teamed up with the 11th Force Support Squadron to orchestrate the Purple Up Parade with students of each CDC. Children dawned purple attire to celebrate Month of the Military Child and held pinwheels for NCAPM.
In addition to the ones that each child was given, the FAP positioned nearly 400 pinwheels throughout the base with hopes that members would raise an eyebrow in question.
“The pinwheel is the national sign for child abuse awareness,” Miller said. “We wanted to put them in places where children were, as well as places where they would get the most visibility. If I get three people that report a suspicion because the observance month brought it to their attention, then that’s made an impact for me.”
For more information on NCAPM events on base or to report a suspicion of child abuse, call the FAP at 240-857-9680.