FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 13, 2015
Contact: Jon Ebelt, Public Information Officer, DPHHS, (406) 444-0936
Chuck Council, Communications Specialist, DPHHS, (406) 444-4391
Pinwheels for Prevention Parade is scheduled for April 13
- First Lady, Miss Montana, BCBSMT, Jefferson School teachers and students join forces to raise awareness about the prevention of child abuse and neglect
- BCBSMT to donate $10,000 to Children’s Trust Fund
Montana’s First Lady Lisa Bullock, Miss Montana Victoria Valentine, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana (BCBSMT) volunteers and about 200 Jefferson School teachers and children will parade to the Capitol’s front steps on Monday, April 13 at 11:30 a.m. in a sea of blue pinwheels to deliver one message: Child abuse and neglect must stop in Montana.
The event is co-sponsored by the Montana Children’s Trust Fund (CTF) and BCBSMT and is being held in conjunction with various other National Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month activities taking place statewide in April.
The Pinwheels for Prevention Parade will begin at Jefferson School. The Helena Police Department will temporarily block traffic at the intersection of Montana and Broadway to allow the parade participants to cross safely.
The event will continue at noon when various child abuse and neglect prevention advocates will speak in front of the Capitol. BCBSMT will also present a $10,000 donation to the Montana Children’s Trust Fund (CTF).
First Lady Bullock said Montana can lead the nation in reducing child abuse. “In Montana, we pull together to find solutions,” she said. “By working collaboratively to raise awareness and focus on prevention, we can make a difference for Montana’s children. Child abuse and neglect is never tolerated.”
Jefferson School Principal Lona Carter-Scanlon said her students are eager to raise awareness about the prevention of child abuse and neglect in Montana.
“Our little people have big voices,” Carter-Scanlon said. “They know that child abuse in Montana has to stop, and they want to help any way they can.” The students have also created blue pinwheel artwork that will be displayed in the Capitol through the end of April.
Pinwheels for Prevention is a national public awareness campaign built around the symbol of the pinwheel, which represents a happy and uplifting symbol of childhood and conveys the message that every child deserves the chance to be raised in a healthy, safe, and nurturing environment.
Hundreds of blue pinwheels have also been planted on the Capitol’s front lawn by CTF and BCBSMT volunteers.
Miss Montana will also be on hand to offer her support for Montana children and families. She has been promoting her personal platform "Read It and Reap" which fosters education and relationships with youth through reading. She is partnering with the World Wide Book Drive to bring 15,000 books to the state of Montana for at-risk children without access to literature.
The noon event will culminate with the BCBSMT donation to the CTF. Jamey Petersen of the CTF said the funding will go a long way toward increasing awareness of free prevention services and activities across Montana including parenting classes, respite care, services for children and families with disabilities, as well as, many other services. “We want to ensure that every child has a great start,” Petersen said. “Every child deserves a safe, stable, nurturing home leading to a happy, healthy childhood.”
BCBSMT officials said they are thrilled to be partnering with the CTF. "Nothing is more important to the future of our state than our children," said John Doran, director of public relations at BCBSMT. "We have to do all we can to keep our biggest asset — our children — safe and sound."
On average, the Department of Public Health and Human Services completes about 7,600 investigations of child abuse and neglect every year involving 11,000 children. Further, the number of children in foster care continues to climb. As of February 28, 2015 there were 2,417 Montana children in foster care, the highest number of kids in care over the past 15 years.
Petersen says year round the CTF encourages all individuals and organizations to play a role in making Montana a better place for children and families. “By ensuring that parents have the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to care for their children, we can help foster stronger families in Montana,” she said.
WHAT: Pinwheels for Prevention Parade, an event to promote the prevention of child abuse and neglect in Montana.
WHO: DPHHS Director Richard Opper
Montana’s First Lady Lisa Bullock
Miss Montana Victoria Valentine
BCBSMT President Mike Frank
WHERE: The parade begins at Jefferson School and concludes at the Capitol front steps, Helena. (In the event of inclement weather, the noon kick-off event will be moved to the Governor’s Reception Room.)
WHEN: Monday, April 13. The parade begins 11:30 a.m. at Jefferson School, followed by noon kick-off event on the Capitol front steps.
About the Montana Children’s Trust Fund
This month and throughout the year, the Montana Children’s Trust Fund encourages all individuals and organizations to play a role in making Montana a better place for children and families. By ensuring that parents have the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to care for their children, we can help promote children’s social and emotional well-being and prevent child maltreatment within families and communities.
Created by the Montana Legislature in 1985, the Montana Children’s Trust Fund works to reduce and ultimately eliminating maltreatment of Montana children. The trust fund provides financial support to local programs across the state to prevent child abuse and neglect and strengthen families. For more information about the Montana Children’s Trust Fund contact Jamey Petersen at email@example.com or 444-3002.