April brings many things to the lives of Kansans – spring planting, warm sunshine, spring breezes and the sounds of children enjoying all that life in Kansas has to offer. This month, a new crop of blue pinwheels is also coming up in gardens across the state. Kansas Children’s Service League serves as the Prevent Child Abuse America chapter for Kansas, and we encourage all Kansans to “plant” blue pinwheels all over their communities this April. Blue pinwheels represent the effort to change the way our nation thinks about prevention, focusing on community activities and public policies that prioritize prevention right from the start.
All children should be raised in healthy, nurturing homes, free from abuse and neglect. We must work to ensure that every child has an equal opportunity to grow and develop. Critical brain development happens before age five. Adverse childhood experiences like child abuse and neglect often have lifetime consequences.
By making a commitment to strengthen families during the years from birth to five years of age, we help children during a critical period in their development. Programs and strategies like quality early education, home visitation, parent education, and mental health services, all play a role in strengthening families. Strengthening families is the best investment we can make for the future. Every dollar we invest on the front end saves $7 in services on the back end. (High/Scope Perry Pre-School Project) Providing prevention programs early is less costly for our society than trying to fix it later. Implementing effective policies and strategies to prevent child abuse and neglect can save taxpayers more than $104 billion a year. (Prevent Child Abuse America) Our ability to thrive as a society depends on how well we foster the health, education and well-being of the next generation. We know that children thrive when their parents thrive. By ensuring that parents have the knowledge, skills and resources they need to care for their children, we can strengthen families and the communities they live in. When we invest in healthy child development, we are investing in our communities and a successful economy, as thriving children are the foundation of a prosperous society. The Pinwheels for Prevention® campaign is flourishing in Kansas and across the nation as more than 2.3 million pinwheels will be distributed nationwide in April 2013. When you see blue pinwheels spinning in the Kansas breeze, please be reminded of what you can do to help strengthen families and communities.
- Dona Booe, President/CEO of Kansas Children’s Service League