Beaufort County DSS plants pinwheel garden for Child Abuse Prevention Month

Published 3:10 pm Friday, April 5, 2024

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WASHINGTON, N.C. –– April is Child Abuse Awareness Month, a time for communities to focus on working together to prevent child abuse and neglect.

In observance of Child Abuse Awareness Month, Beaufort County Department of Social Services staff and community partners gathered in front of the agency to plant a pinwheel garden, which represents efforts to focus on community activities that support families and public policies that prioritize prevention right from the start to make sure child abuse and neglect never occur. A pinwheel represents the bright future all children deserve.

“This is a great opportunity to bring awareness to child abuse prevention,” said Scott Cullom, Child Protective Services supervisor with Beaufort County DSS. “It’s great to see people take time out of their schedules to put these out so when people ride by, they’ll read the sign and see that there are folks in the community concerned about children being abused and neglected.

“This brings attention to that,” Cullom added, “hopefully to prevent it from happening and for people to make reports so we can get involved in cases of child abuse.”

Carley Blizzard and Shea Zeck, East Carolina University students interning with Beaufort County DSS, presented national and local statistics regarding child abuse cases. A report from the Department of Health and Human Services shows that an estimated 600,000 children

nationwide were victims of child abuse and neglect in fiscal year 2021. An estimated 1,820 children died from abuse and neglect in FY 2021.

In fiscal year 2022-23, Beaufort County DSS investigated 480 reports of child abuse and neglect. From July 2023 to March 2024, DSS investigated 309 reports of child abuse and neglect.

To make a Child Protective Services report, Beaufort County residents should call Beaufort County DSS during business hours (8 a.m. – 5 p.m.) Monday through Friday at 252-975-5500. After-hours reports and holiday reports can be made by calling the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office Communications Center at 252-946-0101 to reach a social worker on call.