WARSAW — Court Appointed Special Advocates of Kosciusko County held its annual pinwheel planting ceremony in honor of child abuse prevention month at the courthouse Wednesday, April 10.
Approximately 70 people in the community planted pinwheels at the event. Representatives from CASA and the Department of Children’s Services attended the ceremony.
“These pinwheels are people who are committed to child abuse prevention. When you’re planting them, you’re saying ‘I’m a safe person who wants to help children,'” said CASA program manager Janelle Meyer. “We have great agencies around here who want to give back. We encourage you to not just plant (the pinwheel) today but to go and do something that reaches out to children in our community.”
In addition, members from local law enforcement, including Kosciusko County Sheriff Kyle Dukes, were present to show their support.
“This is awesome that we are all coming together here today for this. If we continue to fight this as a team, we can make a difference,” said Dukes.
CASA leaders asked the community to consider volunteering for the organization as child abuse cases have more than doubled since 2016. A recent report revealed that Indiana has the second highest child abuse rate in the US. In 2017, 18.6 children were victims of abuse for every 1,000 children. The national average is 9.1 victims per 1,000 children.
If you suspect child abuse is occurring, please contact the child abuse and neglect hotline at (800) 800-5556 or Kosciusko County Department of Children’s Services at (574) 267-2576. Once reported, local agencies can investigate and intervene.