The courthouse lawn will be filled with bright pinwheels spinning in the breeze Tuesday, but the simple little wind catchers are there to highlight the complicated problem of child abuse and neglect.
The annual Pinwheels kickoff Tuesday, April 12, at 10 a.m. will serve as a reminder that child abuse and neglect remains a serious concern, said Mary Ann Kotras, executive director for McDuffie County Partners for Success.
About 250 pinwheels will form a display on the lawn, with each pinwheel representing a reported case of child abuse and neglect in McDuffie County. "Pinwheels for Prevention" is an annual event from the organization Prevent Child Abuse aimed at increasing awareness of the problem.
"We really try to promote public awareness of this issue," Dr. Kotras said. "It is often a hidden issue that doesn't come to the forefront."
Child abuse and neglect cross socio-economic lines and ethnic groups. Each April officials renew efforts to draw attention to it during National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Every seven minutes in Georgia, a child is abused or neglected, Dr. Kotras noted.
"We do have it here, and we want to make the public aware of it," she said.
The rates continue to rise, and across Georgia last year there were about 85,000 reports of child abuse, she said.
The theme this year, "Safe Children and Healthy Families are a Shared Responsibility," reflects the belief that by working cooperatively, child abuse and its damaging effects can be prevented, Dr. Kotras said.
"For the past 20 years, Prevent Child Abuse (PCA) Georgia has been working hard to meet the needs of Georgia's children and their families. As a chartered council of PCA Georgia Prevent Child Abuse McDuffie truly believes that if communities work together we can make Georgia's future brighter by giving its children a good start" Dr. Kotras stated.