Child Abuse Awareness Month

Jeff Schuman reports,

First lady and Cheyenne residents plant hundreds of pinwheels at capitol to promote child abuse prevention.

Child abuse is a continuing problem across the nation.

"It is estimated that over three million children are victims of child abuse each year," Child Advocacy Centers Chair Lynn Huylar said.

Wyoming's first lady said it best, "the children are our future."

"One in three girls and one in five boys will be sexually abused by an adult at some time during their childhood," Huylar said.

But sadly, often times it is family members not providing a safe home one of their own deserves.

"85 percent of those who molest are family members or friends who know the child."

Governor Mead has declared April as Child Abuse Awareness Month. After reading the proclamation, the First Lady joined a crowd to plant 245 blue and silver pinwheels in the capitol lawn; each representing three child victims in Wyoming.

"We look forward to a day, hopefully in the near future, when none of us have to place pinwheels in the yard or make proclamations about child abuse because it just won't be a problem," First Lady Carol Mead said.

"It's going to take all of us working together side-by-side each serving unique roles from prevention, intervention, investigation and judicial response if we're going to make a difference for children," Huylar said.

With various statewide partners in attendance, the overall message for prevention was clear.

"The first step to finding the right intervention needs to be that we pay attention and don't miss the early signs of abuse and neglect," Family Services Director Steve Corsi said.