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September 27, 2023 9:37 pm

Wayne CARES brings awareness and resources for Child Abuse Prevention Month

GOLDSBORO —Community agencies from across Wayne County and North Carolina work year-round to bring awareness and resources to families in the community.

Wayne CARES (Coalition on Abuse, Resilience, Education and Support) is one of those organizations bringing awareness to child abuse prevention, how to become a resilient community, educating the community and providing support where needed. While work is done year-round in the community, CARES wants to provide a tremendous amount of awareness around programs and education during the month of April. April 1-7 is recognized as “The Week of the Young Child” and April 21 is Purple Up for Month of the Military Child. April is also recognized as Child Abuse Prevention Awareness month and Positive Parenting Awareness month. The opening ceremony for April’s events will be held April 4 at 11 a.m. at The Hub in Downtown Goldsboro.

The Partnership for Children of Wayne County is a lead agency whose mission is to provide and connect families with early care and education, health and family support services needed for young children. Executive Director Valerie Wallace is focused on ensuring these programs reach families. “Whether childcare resources, advocacy, NC-Pre-K, Safe Kids Program, training and working alongside community agencies, our focus is on ensuring the absolute best start for every child in Wayne County,” said Wallace.

Blue pinwheels will be placed throughout Wayne County and North Carolina during April to raise awareness of child abuse. Prevent Child Abuse N.C. ensures that prevention is a priority in NC and that all communities have the knowledge, skills, and resources to prevent child abuse and neglect at the local level. This year’s theme is “Be a Connection” and there are free resources at preventchildabuse.org.

“Community members are urged to review the warning signs of potential child abuse and report it”, said Melissa Harrell, coordinator of Wayne CARES and Wayne Action Group for Economic Solvency Mental Health manager. Harrell reminds community members “it’s our job to protect our children.”

In addition to ensuring the safety and health of children, April is also Month of the Military Child, underscoring the important role military children play in the armed forces community. Community members are asked to “Purple Up” and wear purple on April 21 in support of military children and families.

“Whether it is moving regularly or having a parent deployed for several months, our military children experience unique challenges and life transitions,” said Cristy Barnes-Williams, school liaison officer for Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. “We want everyone to “Purple Up” to help bring awareness of the sacrifices military-connected students make, and to show students and their families that our schools and community support them. Locally, Wayne County Public Schools has approximately 2,000 military-connected students.”

The month of April is also “Positive Parenting Awareness Month” in Wayne County. The goal of this month is to highlight all the wonderful resources that our county has to support parents on their journey. Harrell reinforces that parenting does not come with a manual. “Triple P (Positive Parenting Program) is a parenting program that serves as a toolbox of ideas. You choose what strategies you need and how to implement them. This added layer of support empowers families to feel confident in their actions and help raise and manage happy and confident children,” she said.

Community members are asked to participate throughout April and year-round to ensure children in the community and their families are connected with resources and opportunities. Any person or agency interested in helping should  contact CARES at waynecares2021@gmail.com or call Christina Watts, WAGES community engagement coordinator at 919-734-1178. They are also on Facebook.

— Submitted by Partnership for Children of Wayne County