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Rowan County Residents can “Paint the Town Blue” for child abuse prevention


April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and Gateway Childrens Advocacy Center is encouraging everybody to take a stand against child abuse and neglect.

The GCAC has several events planned to raise awareness for the subject. Rowan County residents have until April 12 to help “Paint the Town Blue” by decorating the outside of businesses or homes with the color. Participants can stop by the GCAC to pick up pinwheels to display. Voting will take place for a week after submissions and a winner will be announced at the Child Abuse Prevention Conference, taking place April 18 and 19.

April 5 is “Wear Blue Day”. The GCAC is hoping to see people wearing the color while sharing on social media that they are taking a stand against child abuse.

Laura Buckner is a therapist at the GCAC. She said the number of children they served increased in 2023 from years past.

“2023 we had 401 children we served. The previous year, it was about 60 less. So, we have seen an increase in children that we are serving for child abuse and neglect. So, I feel like just prevention, education, awareness is extremely important,” said Buckner.

Buckner added one of the most important things a person can do when it comes to child abuse prevention is to know the signs and be aware.

“We need people to be watching, to be looking out and knowing the signs of child abuse, and to report when we see something that is suspicious,” said Buckner.

Buckner said signs of child abuse and neglect can include physical injuries like bruises, broken bones, and anything that looks like it could be caused not by accident, and children acting out or behaving differently.

Kentucky law states any adult who suspects child abuse or neglect is required to report it. Kentuckians can do so by calling the child abuse hotline at 877-597-2331 or in an emergency, call 911.