Robeson County DSS staff to don blue to mark starting of Nationwide Baby Abuse Prevention Month

LUMBERTON – Robeson County’s Department of Social Services turns blue Thursday to raise awareness for National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Staff at the DSS and other district departments were urged to wear blue on Thursday to begin a month of raising awareness of efforts to end child abuse, said Velvet Nixon, the district’s DSS director. She also encourages attendees to post photos on social media using the hashtag # WearBlueDay2021.

“I believe that all facilities in our communities play an essential role in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of children. It is important that we use this nationally recognized month to remember the importance of working together to strengthen families and prevent child abuse and neglect, ”said Nixon.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “at least one in seven children has experienced child abuse and / or neglect in the past year, and this is likely an underestimate. In 2019, 1,840 children died of abuse and neglect in the United States. “

The county welfare department receives approximately 2,800 to 3,000 reports of child abuse annually, said Tina Barnes-Dawson, program manager for child protection investigations.

The county’s DSS uses state standards to respond to and investigate reports to protect children and provide the resources necessary for families to thrive, she said.

In 2020, the department examined 2,109 reports, Barnes-Dawson said. This year alone, 2,888 child abuse-related calls were received.

The district’s social welfare office is also planning to create a blue wind turbine garden on its premises on Thursday, if the weather permits.

The pinwheel symbolizes the “innocence of children” and “reflects the future that all children deserve,” said Barnes-Dawson. The wheel is a positive emblem that shows that everyone must work together to make this happen.

“April is recognized as the national month for the prevention of child abuse. It just underscores the importance of our cooperation to prevent child abuse,” she said.

Targeting child abuse and neglect is important not only to the child’s physical well-being, but also to the impact it can have on the child’s development and path in adulthood, said Barnes-Dawson.

“For example, exposure to childhood violence increases the risk of injury, future victimization and prosecution of violence, substance abuse, sexually transmitted infections, retarded brain development, lower levels of education and limited job opportunities,” according to the CDC.

“Chronic abuse can lead to toxic stress that can alter brain development and increase the risk of problems like post-traumatic stress disorder and learning, attention and memory difficulties,” the CDC website said in part.

Governor Roy Cooper also stated on Monday that April is the state’s National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Child Abuse Prevention in North Carolina emphasized the importance of citizens working together to prevent child abuse by creating caring connections, supportive environments, and positive experiences for all children during the Child Abuse Prevention Month and create families.

“Science tells us that connections are important,” said Sharon Hirsch, President and CEO of PCANC. “Our work to build positive connections, stable foundations, supportive communities, and strong families where all children can thrive has never been more important as families in North Carolina grapple with additional stressors from the COVID-19 pandemic. “

The PCANC and the NCDHHS Social Services Department in each county in the state will, according to the NCDHHS, “ensure that parents have the knowledge, skills and resources necessary to care for their children.”

For more information on preventing child abuse, please visit

Contact Jessica Horne at 910-416-5165 or email at [email protected]

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