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Child Abuse Prevention Month 2023

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month!

In 1874, the first documented case of child abuse occurred in New York with Mary Ellen Wilson. This led to the creation of the non-governmental New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Similar organizations were created across the country, with over 300 in place by 1922. In 1912, the federal government created the Children’s Bureau, in order to investigate & report on matters of the welfare of children; this was the first time the federal government played a part in taking responsibility for the welfare of children.

In 1962, Dr. C. Henry Kempe & Brandt F. Steele published “The Battered Child Syndrome” article through the Journal of American Medical Association, exposing the reality of child abuse and giving doctors ways to identify, understand, and report child abuse. By 1967, all 50 states had passed legislation mandating reporting of child abuse in some form.

In 1974, The Child Abuse Protection & Treatment Act was passed on the federal level, providing funding to states for prevention, identification, and treatment of child abuse. It now provides the minimum standard for child maltreatment definitions across the nation. It was also through this process that the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect (now the Office on Child Abuse and Neglect) was created in order to be the forefront of addressing the national problem of child abuse.

Congress designated June 6-12, 1982 as the first National Child Abuse Prevention Week. In 1983, April was formally designated at the first Child Abuse Prevention Month.

In 1989, the Blue Ribbon Campaign was started by a grandmother in Virginia in honor of her grandson who passed away as a result of child abuse. She tied a blue ribbon to her car’s antenna.

Today, the color blue is widely used to represent Child Abuse Prevention.

A more in-depth history of the Child Abuse Protection & Treatment Act, or overviews of the past National Conferences of Child Abuse & Neglect can be found here: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/focus-areas/child-abuse-neglect/nccan


Why is Child Abuse Prevention Month important to us?

While the ACCAC has been supporting child victims and their families in Adams County for the past 16 years, there is still work to be done. Through those years, the ACCAC experienced an increase in physical abuse cases seen at our center, especially during the COVID-19 Pandemic, with 36% of children experiencing multiple forms of abuse.

The ACCAC is working to grow our program in order to continue providing the best services to children and families in the Adams County community. You can learn about our five-year plan for expanding services, including moving to a larger facility, here.

  • in 2020:
    • 61% of verified abuse reports were female victims and 39% were male victims
      • Of those, 45% were sexual abuse
      • 44% were physical abuse
      • 9% were neglect
      • 4% were medical neglect
      • 1% were emotional abuse
      • Less than 0.5% were “other/unknown”
  • in 2021:
    • 38,013 cases of suspected child abuse were reported across the state.
      • 17,742 victims were age 0-8 years old
      • 20,195 victims were age 9-17 years old
    • 5,036 reports were verified
      • 2,753 victims were age 0-8 years old
      • 609 victims were age 9-17 years old
    • Approximately 14 out of every 1,000 children were victims of abuse
    • 19,592 children were provided in-home services to ensure safety & well-being in their own home through Children & Youth Services.
  • In 2021,
    • 364 cases of suspected child abuse were reported across the county.
      • 179 victims were age 0-8 years old
      • 185 victims were age 9-17
    • 61 cases of child abuse were verified
      • 10 of these cases were re-abuse
    • 16 out of every 1,000 children were victims of abuse
    • 1,403 children were provided in-home services to ensure safety and well-being in their own home through Children & Youth Services.
  • During the 2021-2022 fiscal year,
    • 225 children were provided advocacy support services through the ACCAC
      • 219 caregivers and child family members received support services
      • Each child had an average of 5.95 ACEs
    • 64 children received mental health services through the ACCAC
    • 3,236 children received prevention education lessons in their school
      • Lessons by the ACCAC are provided for children grades K-6th
    • 227 forensic interviews were conducted
      • 58% of the children were age 3-12 years old
      • 41% were age 13-17 years old

Interested in spreading the word about preventing child abuse?

ACCAC has created an Outreach Toolkit to help you participate in Child Abuse Prevention Month and share information across your social media pages! Access the toolkit here!

As a caregiver, you can review these Safety Rules and share them with the children in your life to help them stay safe.


Child Abuse Prevention Month Events

In 2022, over 100 Adams County businesses SHINED BLUE for Child Abuse Prevention Month. We hope you will continue to help raise awareness for 2023 by displaying blue lights outside your home and/or business. Displaying blue lights shows your support of Child Abuse Prevention Month and helps raise further awareness!

Wearing blue clothing during April is a tangible way to show your compassion & empathy for child victims and your support for kids, families, & prevention. Publicly displaying your blue helps to raise awareness for Child Abuse Prevention Month and start the conversation that prevention is in our hands!

  • How to Participate:
    • Wear blue clothing (shirt, pants, socks, scarf, hat, etc.) every Friday in April.
      • 4/7, 4/14, 4/21, and 4/28
    • Share photos on social media of your team, staff, friends, family, pets, and of course yourself wearing blue & tag us! #PreventionIsInOurHands #AdamsCountyCAC #PreventChildAbuse and @cac_admin3

Join us for a fun, FREE First Friday event at the CAC’s Brighter Tomorrows Center! This event is open to the entire community with fun for all ages!

Enjoy live music, snacks, art activities, resources, and Cruse the Comfort Dog!

Find more information on our events page!

Display an Adams County Children’s Advocacy garden flag & yard sign at your home and/or business to help raise awareness of Child Abuse Prevention Month & show your support!

  • How to Participate:
    • Purchase your Garden Flag & Yard Sign Set by completing this order form.
      • 1 set for $25, 2 sets for $35, or 3 sets for $45!
      • Pick-up will be available March 22th, 24th, or 29th between 9:00am and 4:00pm at ACCAC (450 W. Middle Street, Gettysburg)
    • Share a picture of your set on social media and tag us! #PreventionIsInOurHands #AdamsCountyCAC #PreventChildAbuse and @KidsAgainCAC
    • You can also use this photo to show your support on social media!

Research has proven that when at least 5% of a community’s adults receive child abuse prevention training, the incidences of child abuse are reduced. You can be part of our community’s 5% by taking our free, virtual training and sharing our informational social media posts!

  • How to Participate:
    • Click here to begin your free, virtual child abuse prevention training (it only takes about 30 minutes!)
      • Click here for the slides to follow along and take notes!
    • Click here to download the Prevention Tips sheet and here to download the Safety Rules
    • Click here to access a picture to post on your social media, encouraging others to be part of the 5%!
      • When you share the posts, tag us! #PreventionIsInOurHands #AdamsCountyCAC #PreventChildAbuse and @KidsAgainCAC

Make a one-time or recurring, tax-deductible donation to support our prevention education efforts and on-going services.

Did you know?

  • $14 provides prevention education to 1 child.
  • $50 provides activities for 1 middle/high school girls’ support group meeting.
  • $180 provides 1 child & family therapy session after experiencing trauma.
  • $420 provides prevention education to a classroom of 30 students.
  • $610 provides advocacy support for 1 child & their family for a year.
  • $1,000 provides therapy sessions for 1 child for a year.

Click here to make an online donation or mail a check to 450 W. Middle Street, Gettysburg PA 17235 (made out to Adams County Children’s Advocacy Center).


Go Blue Today!