Do you remember being a child and using your imagination? Even the simplest, least complicated toys were full of magic! One of the most basic childhood toys is a pinwheel. Pinwheels consist of a wheel made of folded paper or plastic that is attached to a stick with a pin, and if you can catch the wind just right, it will blow in the breeze. It’s a simple joy, and it stands as a symbol of the simplicity of childhood: carefree, fun, and playful. That’s why the pinwheel is the national symbol for healthy and happy children.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and the Pinwheels for Prevention campaign invites everyone to take action by educating, learning more about prevention, and volunteering. In 2008, Prevent Child Abuse America introduced the pinwheel as the new national symbol for child abuse prevention through Pinwheels for Prevention. According to Prevent Child Abuse America, “the pinwheel has come to serve as the physical embodiment or reminder of the great childhoods we want for all children.”

The Pinwheels for Prevention campaign is based on the belief that we must do more than simply respond to cases of abuse, and instead, we must work toward preventing abuse from happening in the first place. When children are exposed to extreme conditions that include abuse and stress, it hurts their development mentally, physically, and emotionally In order to get ahead of abuse, programs must be established that create better conditions for healthier childhoods. This includes education for parents, substance abuse intervention and prevention programs for parents, and support for parents, which are all included in home visiting. Empowering adults in order to empower children leads to healthier, happier childhoods.

Thankfully in Arkansas, we now have several different home visiting models to assist children and families in need. Arkansas Early Head Start (EHS), Family Connects Union County, Following Baby Back Home (FBBH), Healthy Families America (HFA), Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY), Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP), Parents as Teachers (PAT), and SafeCare Arkansas are all different home visiting models that have a different approach and criteria for services but are each dedicated to providing education, support, and care to families of young children in order to build brighter futures.

To show support during the month of April, schools, businesses, churches, hospitals, community groups, and organizations plant pinwheel gardens in prominent locations to bring awareness to the cause. This month is a little different than our usually scheduled programming due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in our country. This means that children may be stuck at home in abusive situations.

So, what can you do? There’s no way we can be in any homes right now, even as mandated reporters because it isn’t safe. We can, as home visitors, supervisors, coordinators, and social servants, continue to meet virtually and over the phone with our families, reach out via texting, and continue to support our families in any way possible, while practicing social distancing.

The AHVN posts daily on social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, in order to give our families and home visitors as many resources as possible If you would like to show your support, you can check out how to get involved here! Our Training Institute also has a Child Abuse module available here.

To show support in April and every day, strive to nurture the children in your life and make every interaction positive and loving. Keep your eyes peeled for blue pinwheels in your community.

Be a voice for those who are voiceless.

For more information contact Lacye Vance, Healthy Families America MIECHV Arkansas State Lead.

Email: vancelb@archildrens.org

Phone: (501) 364-3349