Bartlesville, Oklahoma – April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. In recognition, Ray of Hope Advocacy Center plans to place 347 pinwheels in the green space at Unity Square. Each pinwheel represents a confirmed victim of child abuse in the areas that Ray of Hope serves during 2022.
This month and throughout the year, Ray of Hope Advocacy Center encourages all individuals and organizations to play a role in making Bartlesville 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 promote the social and emotional well-being of children and youth and prevent child maltreatment within families and communities.
The Bartlesville City Council plans to make an official proclamation on April 3rd declaring April Child Abuse Awareness Month in Bartlesville.
“We are glad that the City of Bartlesville has declared April as Child Abuse Prevention Month,” said Champagne Kane, Ray of Hope board president. “Child abuse is an uncomfortable topic for most adults. At Ray of Hope, we believe that we all have a shared responsibility to keep children and families safe. Families and communities need to work together to prevent child abuse and neglect, and we are proud to do that here in Bartlesville.”
Protective factors are the strengths and resources families draw on during difficult times to shield them from life’s stresses. Research shows that when parents possess protective factors, the risk for neglect and abuse diminishes and optimal outcomes for children, youth, and families are promoted. Major protective factors include knowledge of parenting, knowledge of child development, parental resilience, social connections, and concrete support.
“The numbers can feel overwhelming when you think about our tight-knit communities, we know that child abuse can have a lasting impact on children, families, and the community.” Rhonda Hudson, executive director of Ray of Hope, said. “However, we are thankful that these children’s stories have come to light as they safely move forward toward healing and hope.”
Hudson adds that in Oklahoma, every adult is a mandated child abuse reporter and urges anyone who suspects abuse or neglect to call the Oklahoma Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-522-3511.
Along with pinwheels at Unity Square, Ray of Hope has planned a free family event set for April 16th, called Hope in the Park. This event is to help create community awareness of child abuse prevention while allowing time for a fun family afternoon in the park, which is set to include games, activities, inflatables, and music. The event could not be possible without the support of the community, and local businesses. Ray of Hope will also have a display at the Bartlesville Public Library through April recognizing Child Abuse Prevention Month, and Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
Ray of Hope is a multi-service organization that is committed to helping adult and child survivors and their families find the services they need in one place to recover from child abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault, teen dating violence, and stalking. Their mission is to facilitate a coordinated, community response and to provide hope and support to children and families impacted by abuse.
For more information about Child Abuse Awareness Month or Ray of Hope Advocacy Center, visit www.rayofhopeac.org. To report concern for a child, please call the OKDHS Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 1-800-522-3511