MANSFIELD -- This month and throughout the year, Richland County Children Services (RCCS) encourages all individuals and organizations to play a role in making Richland County a better place for children and families.

By ensuring that parents have the knowledge, skills and resources they need to care for their children, we can help prevent child abuse and neglect by making meaningful connections with children, youth and families in our communities.

Research shows that protective factors are present in healthy families. Promoting these factors is among the most effective ways to reduce the risk of child abuse and neglect. The factors are:

• Nurturing and attachment

• Knowledge of parenting and of child and youth development

• Parental resilience

• Social connections

• Concrete supports for parents

• Social and emotional competence of children

"April is a time to celebrate the important role that communities play in protecting children and strengthening families," said Brigitte Coles, RCCS Community Engagement Specialist. "Everyone's participation is critical. Focusing on ways to connect with families is the best thing our community can do to strengthen families and prevent child abuse and neglect."

In the interest of safety to our families and community partners, all public kick-off events have been cancelled due to the threat of the COVID-19 virus. The 7TH Annual Billboard and Calendar Contest for third -grade students throughout Richland County has also been cancelled. Richland County Children Services will observe National Child Abuse Prevention Month with the following activities:

Pinwheels for Prevention at the Richland County Courthouse Wednesday, April 1, RCCS staff will be placing 1,260 Blue Pinwheels on the front lawn of the Richland County Courthouse, 50 Park Ave E, Mansfield, OH 44902. The 1,260 Blue Pinwheels represent every report of abuse or neglect received by the Agency in 2019. The Blue Pinwheels are a reminder that every child deserves a safe, happy and permanent home. 

Wear Blue Day Wednesday, April 8. Wear Blue Day is an annual statewide event to spread awareness on the important issues of child abuse, neglect and dependency. On this day local businesses, offices, schools, agencies, factories, retail outlets and media partners are asked to Wear Blue to show unity against child abuse and neglect.

Participants can take pictures of themselves, their group, classmates or co-workers wearing blue and send them via email to Brigitte.Coles@jfs.ohio.gov for publication on the agency’s website and Facebook page. 

For more information about child abuse prevention programs and activities go to richlandcountychildrenservices.org. Please call the Richland County Children Services 24-hour child abuse hotline at 419-774-4100 to report child abuse and neglect.

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