Since 1983, April has been designated as National Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month.
In 1989, grandmother Bonnie Finney made a personal commitment to a wear a blue ribbon after her grandson died of child abuse. Bonnie tied a blue ribbon on the antenna of her minivan as a signal to others that child abuse is devastating for survivors and those around them. Since 1989, blue ribbons are displayed as a nationally recognized symbol to end child abuse.
Lancaster County recognized the community need for alleged children victims and their non-offending caregivers for proper assessment, treatment, investigation and prosecution of child abuse. In 2006, the Lancaster County Children’s Alliance (LCCA) opened its doors as the Child Advocacy Center (CAC), providing services to child victims of abuse through a multidisciplinary-team approach.
LCCA calls on various professionals from child protection, law enforcement, prosecution, victim advocacy, and the medical and mental health communities to form multidisciplinary teams as needed, teams that provide timely, coordinated, child-focused investigative and intervention services. Members of these teams share one overarching mission: to support children and their families with concerns of abuse by providing coordinated assessment, counseling, medical evaluations, investigations and community education.
Since opening its doors, the LCCA has served over 6,000 children. Last year, 673 children were served at the CAC where dedicated team members came together to work vigorously at providing sound investigations, compassionate treatment, and prevention of child abuse.
“During the month of April we urge people to wear a blue ribbon to raise awareness of the importance of this month and as a symbol of our commitment to protect our children and end child abuse,” said Mary Halye, the LCCA’s manager.
To report a concern about possible child abuse, call ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313. For information on the LCCA, contact Mary Halye at 717-544-7973.