#minorsextrafficking | Pinwheels for Prevention: Finding hope amid the harsh realities of child abuse

Pinwheels conjure up memories of play and whimsy and childhood. Each April, during National Prevent Child Abuse Prevention Month, they also remind us of the collective hope that one day all children can lead healthy, happy lives free of abuse.

The Pinwheels for Prevention program originated in Georgia. In 2008, PCA America incorporated the pinwheel into its national campaign, making it the nationally recognized symbol for child abuse awareness and prevention.

Throughout April, PCA Habersham — which operates through the Family Resource Center of Northeast Georgia — has been focused on raising awareness and money to support its child abuse prevention programs. The agency works with families in Habersham, Stephens, and White counties. Its programs are aimed at protecting children and promoting families through education, training, counseling, and support groups.

A major public health problem

According to PCA Georgia, child abuse and neglect are major public health problems. Georgia ranks 38th in the nation for child well-being.

“[Abuse] is not caused by a single factor but by multiple factors related to the individual, family, community, and society at large,” the organization says. Poverty, unemployment, drugs, alcohol, a lack of affordable and safe housing, community violence, systemic discrimination, and limited opportunities for social and economic mobility are variables that contribute to child abuse and neglect.

More often than not, child abuse is a family affair.

Nationwide, statistics show that mothers are involved in the majority of child abuse cases. In 2019, mothers were the perpetrators — either alone or with a nonparent — in nearly 46% of abuse cases. Fathers were the perpetrators in nearly 24% of the cases.

Source: 2019 Child Maltreatment Report compiled by U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services

The 2019 Child Maltreatment Report compiled by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows that in 2019, authorities investigated and confirmed 10,102 child abuse victims in Georgia. Of those, 45 were victims of sex trafficking, 848 were sexually abused, 1,194 suffered physical abuse, 1,962 suffered psychological abuse, and 7,091 suffered from neglect.

The costs of helping victims of child abuse

Not only are the physical, emotional, and psychological costs extreme, the financial costs of child abuse are tremendous. A study in 2016 found that the total direct cost for one victim of child abuse through his or her lifetime is over $226,000. That total includes short-term and long-term health care, child welfare costs, criminal justice costs, special education costs, and productivity costs.

To bring that closer to home, the cost of providing supervised visitation, counseling, and training costs through the Family Resource Center of Northeast Georgia is $20,000 per family. Grant money only covers a fraction of the cost to provide their life-transforming services, and they rely heavily on contributions from community members and organizations.

In 2020, the Family Resource Center provided significant resources, even during the pandemic. FRC helped families and children by:

  • Providing 168 adult classes, parenting classes, substance abuse help, child development training, and behavior workshops.
  • Supporting 255 infants and parents through First Steps programming.
  • Supervising over 3,000 hours of parent-child contact for families in need of intervention and coaching.
  • Serving 482 children through art and play therapy, supervised visitation, and Music and Movement.
  • Trained 100 adults to prevent, recognize and responsibly react to child sexual abuse.
  • Provided 2,254 hours of therapy and counseling to children, teens, and adults.
  • Provided 1002 hours of home visitations in Northeast Georgia homes.

How you can help

Eradicating child abuse is a community affair. From reporting suspected abuse to supporting agencies that work to prevent it, we can all positively impact children’s lives.

There are numerous agencies across the state that provide community resources to help vulnerable children and families. If you live in Northeast Georgia and are looking for a way to help, the Family Resource Center in Clarkesville needs volunteers and donations.

For volunteer opportunities, email information@familyresourcecenterneg.org or call 706-778-3100.

To make a donation, consider these options:

Need help?

If you’re seeking help for your family or others, community resources are available throughout the state.

PCA Georgia has an interactive map that makes it easy to find services. To access Georgia’s Family Resource Map, click here or visit https://abuse.publichealth.gsu.edu.

You may also call the Prevent Child Abuse Helpline, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays at 1-800-244-5373.


Family Resource Center of NE Georgia celebrates 5 years of service

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