GREENSBORO, N.C. — April is Child Abuse Prevention month and many agencies are displaying pinwheels in an annual awareness effort.
“The pinwheels represent happiness, freedom and being outside enjoying the day. Really that’s what childhood should be about for kids,” explained Dr. Kelly Graves.
Dr. Graves heads the Child Response Initiative in Greensboro, a collaboration of agencies in the city that work together to prevent and address child abuse.
The Guilford County Department of Social Services receives about 5,500 reports of suspected child abuse and neglect annually.
Graves said national figures indicate only about a third of child abuse cases are actually reported, so the exact number of incidents could be closer to 15,000.
Child and Family Services Program Manager Karen Williamson encourages anyone who suspects abuse or neglect to call in a report.
“They can report anonymously,” she pointed out. “If they do choose to give their names, their names are held confidential in our case records. It is illegal for us to give their identity to the family if we go out to investigate their report.”
She said calling in concerns does not mean children will immediately be taken from their homes.
“If the children are at risk of abuse or neglect, if there are safety issues, we try to put services in place to increase safety in the home so the children can remain in the home with their families, but be safe,” Williamson added.
According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of child abuse include withdrawal from friends and normal activities, school absences, depression, unexplained injuries and reluctance to go home.
Individuals who report concerns have the right to receive a letter later to know what happened with the case.
To report concerns of child abuse or neglect, visit or call your county’s DSS Child Protective Services agency.
Call 911 in emergencies.
336-641-3795 (Monday through Friday, 8am-5pm)
1-800-378-5315 (After hours, weekends and holidays)
336- 703-ABUSE (2287)
336-242-2500 (Monday through Friday, 8am-5pm)
336-249-0131 (After hours, weekends and holidays)
336-229-2908 Or 336-570-6532
336-570-6777 (After hours, weekends and holidays)