Submitted by: Bonnie Perrigard, Communications Coordinator, Highland Shores Children’s Aid
October is recognized by Children’s Aid Societies across the province as Child Abuse Prevention Month. The message being conveyed is that each of us can play a vital role in speaking up for kids in order to keep them safe and well-cared for.
Unfortunately many people worry that their call to Children’s Aid will lead to splitting up a family. During the month of October, Highland Shores Children’s Aid will be raising awareness about how a call to the Society leads to an offer of help that can make all the difference to children, youth, and families.
Ontario’s leading research study on child abuse and neglect shows that children remained with their families in 97% of CAS investigations, a statistic that comes as a surprise to many people. Our work at Highland Shores and at other CASs in the province is often focused on in-home, early intervention services, based on the recognition that early intervention can reduce the need for more intrusive services later. Early intervention services offered by Children’s Aid can include counselling, parenting programs and substance abuse treatment. A call to Highland Shores can also lead to a family being put in touch with community partners whose supports and services can be invaluable.
Last year, over 165,000 Ontarians reached out to Children’s Aid Societies with a child protection concern, with teachers and police making the most referrals. But the inquests into the tragic deaths of Jeffrey Baldwin and Katelynn Sampson revealed that there is still a lack of awareness among professionals and community members about their “duty to report” safety concerns to Children’s Aid, as described by Section 72 of the Child and Family Services Act. The Child Abuse Prevention Month campaign strives to provide information and education in this area.
Child Abuse Prevention Month is symbolized by the purple ribbon. This year, CASs across the province are encouraging everyone to wear something purple on October 19th for GO PURPLE DAY or to wear a purple ribbon during the month of October to help us raise awareness. We are also excited to have the CN Tower, a provincial landmark, on board in support of Child Abuse Prevention Month. The CN Tower will be lit in purple from sunset on the 19th to sunrise the next day, in addition to the standard light show that runs for eight minutes at the top of every hour in recognition of GO PURPLE DAY.
Community members in Hastings, Northumberland and Prince Edward Counties can also show their support of the campaign by attending a “GO PURPLE” hockey game in October being held in Campbellford, Cobourg, Picton, Port Hope, Trenton and Wellington in October. For a complete listing of game dates and times, please visit the homepage of our website, www.highlandshorescas.com. On the website you will also find more information on recognizing the signs of abuse or neglect as well as videos about what happens when you make the call to us. It does take a village to raise a child. By working together we can make a difference!