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Douglas County community voices unite in a call for child abuse prevention

group of people taking a selfie during 2019 child abuse prevention pinwheel event
United in their message, “We all play a role in preventing child abuse and neglect,” are: front row (L to R) Douglas County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Thomas S. Tucker, Ph.D.; Dr. Antonia Chiesa, pediatrician at Children’s Hospital and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of CO School of Medicine; (center holding cell phone) Douglas County Commissioner Abe Laydon; and back row (L to R) Tony Spurlock, Douglas County Sheriff; and George Brauchler, District Attorney 18th Judicial District.


On the chilly, but sunny afternoon of April 12, they gathered on the grounds of Children’s Hospital in Highlands Ranch. County officials and School District leaders. Law enforcement, faith-based leaders, and the medical community; human services professionals, and parents with their young children.

Together they stood, united in their call for the prevention of child abuse and neglect, holding pinwheels and unified in their voice: “We all play a role in preventing child abuse and neglect.”

Douglas County’s Pinwheels for Prevention event is the County’s annual public recognition of Child Abuse Prevention Month, when the community gathers and displays blue pinwheels as symbols of the happy childhood that every child deserves.

“It is my hope that in every community we can ensure that every child and every parent know that if they have a reason to celebrate, worry, or grieve, someone will notice, and someone will care,” said event speaker and event co-host Dr. Antonia Chiesa, a practicing pediatrician at Children’s Hospital, and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine specializing in Child Abuse Pediatrics.

“Greater public awareness and supportive, involved communities are essential to the prevention of child abuse and neglect,” said event co-host Douglas County Commissioner Abe Laydon, on behalf of the Board of Douglas County Commissioners. “Everyone in our community can play an active role in making sure that the children of Douglas County have a happy and safe childhood,” Laydon said. “Together, we all create a caring community, united for our children.”

With more than 4,200 calls to its child abuse and neglect hotline in 2018, County officials, school district leaders, law enforcement officials, medical professionals, and more praised those who made the call, reminded those in attendance that nearly 40 professions are mandatory reporters of child abuse and/or neglect in Colorado, and delivered the message that the entire community plays a critical role in the prevention of child abuse and neglect.

Pinwheels for Prevention is a national campaign that helps to lay the foundation for healthy growth for all children, builds awareness and encourages community involvement to prevent child abuse and neglect.

To better understand child abuse prevention, and what to do if you believe a child is at risk, visit Douglas County’s Child Protective Services page.

If you suspect child abuse or neglect, please call Douglas County’s hotline at 303-663-6270. Calls to the alternative statewide hotline, 1-844-CO-4-KIDS (1-844-264-5437) will be routed to Douglas County child protection professionals. Both numbers will reach someone who can help 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

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