Childhood can last a lifetime.  

Children who experience abuse and neglect carry those experiences into adulthood where the aftershocks are manifested in their physical health, mental health, and their ability to form relationships that flourish. In 2022, the Department of Child Services in Elkhart County received over 3,000 calls of concern reporting suspected abuse and/or neglect of a child. Those calls came from every corner and zip code in the county; this is an issue that affects every neighborhood in our community. 

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and we all have a stake in building sturdy foundations for Elkhart County children. Positive childhood experiences build healthy families that lead to stronger communities for all of us. That’s why we all share the responsibility of ensuring children have positive experiences and families have the resources they need, when they need them.  

When a truck carries too much weight, it can be overloaded to the point of breaking down. And when parents are burdened with stresses like poverty or lack of support, the weight of these problems can overload their mental and emotional capacity to meet their children’s needs. When an especially large burden is loaded onto a person who is already overloaded, such as the loss of a job, or a relationship ending, it can cause a breakdown in care.   

However, just as we can lessen the load on a truck, we can provide a range of different types of support that offload sources of stress from parents and improve their capacity to care for their children.  

What CAPS is doing 

CAPS is leading the efforts in Elkhart County to not only respond to child abuse but also prevent it. At CAPS we equip parents with the skills they need, educate the community on child safety, and provide family support through home visitation and crisis case management. These services help families to thrive and keep children safe. But the best and most effective prevention efforts take place in partnership. 

On March 30th, CAPS kicked off Child Abuse Prevention month with the Rally for Kids event, a collaborative assembly of community leaders and organizations with a shared mission to learn about the resources in our community and to support the prevention efforts  to protect vulnerable kids and families.  

In honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month, CAPS and our community partners across the county are also planting pinwheel gardens. Pinwheels are the national symbol for child abuse prevention and represent the bright future all children deserve and our belief that we all have a stake in prioritizing prevention to make sure child abuse and neglect never occur.  

How you can get involved 

If you are interested in planting a pinwheel garden or getting involved in any of our Child Abuse Prevention Month activities, please check out the links below: