Oneida County Raises Child Abuse Awareness

Building and Employees Go Blue, Pinwheels Placed & Caseworkers Recognized

Oneida County is doing its part to raise awareness all April long in recognition of National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Oneida County raised awareness of efforts to prevent child abuse and neglect in a variety of ways including participating in the New York State Office of Children and Family Services’ “Wear Blue Day” on April 9 and by lighting the Oneida County Office blue for the month of April.

On Friday, Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. was joined at the Oneida County Child Advocacy Center in Utica by Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol, Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara, CAC Director Joseph Lisi, Oneida County Department of Social Services Interim Commissioner Colleen Fahy-Box and officials from the YWCA of the Mohawk Valley and local law enforcement agencies to place “Pinwheels for Prevention.”

“We all can play a part in building community, building hope and keeping our children safe,” Picente said. “Together with our Department of Social Services, the Child Advocacy Center, the Sheriff’s Office, the District Attorney’s Office, local law enforcement and community partners such as the YWCA of the Mohawk Valley, we work diligently all year long to raise awareness of child abuse, prevent its tragic occurrence and support victims. Wearing blue, displaying pinwheels and turning on blue lights, are all activities that generate questions and communication and give us the opportunity to educate the public about how frequently child abuse happens.”

“April is a time to celebrate the important role that communities, elected leaders, law enforcement and child service providers play in protecting children and strengthening families,” Maciol said. “Everyone’s participation is critical. Focusing on ways to connect with families is one of the best things our community can do to strengthen families and prevent child abuse and neglect.”

Following the event at the CAC, a luncheon took place at the county building recognizing Oneida County Child Protective Services caseworkers and staff for the work they do to protect the children of our community and provide vital services.

“Creating awareness of child abuse is critical to the safety of all children,” said Fahy-Box. “Children do not have a strong voice alone and rely on the members of the community to be observant and speak up when there are concerns that a child is not being cared for or is mistreated. Without this corroboration from credible adults in children’s lives, it is often difficult to protect them. That is why it is so important to not only report child abuse but to also work with the authorities during investigations to provide the necessary evidence that will enable the system to work as it is intended. It takes courage to support a child through the whole process but it is critical to insuring child safety and well-being.”