Thousands of little blue ribbon flags are lining State Street in Harrisburg in recognition of National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Each flag symbolizes a child who experienced a substantiated case of abuse in 2021. According to the state Department of Human Services, there were 5,036 substantiated cases of child abuse that year, including 58 fatalities and 136 near-fatalities.
The PA Family Support Alliance, after planting the flags on Tuesday, held a ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda to honor four individuals who went above and beyond the call of duty to protect children last year.
Among those receiving the alliance’s Blue Ribbon Champion for Safe Kids honor were Cumberland County resident Christina Roland and Franklin County resident Jessica Crouse,
Roland is the director of intake services at the Cumberland County Office of Children and Youth Services, where she has worked in the department in various capacities since 1990.
Crouse is a community educator at the Over the Rainbow Children’s Advocacy Center in Franklin County, who works in schools and the community to help children understand what behaviors are appropriate between themselves and adults and how to identify safe adults in whom they can confide if they find themselves in an uncomfortable situation.
On Monday, child advocates gathered with state officials to call for the creation of a permanent Office of Child Advocate to provide an independent outside advocate for children particularly those in foster care and juvenile justice system.
Gov. Josh Shapiro has ordered the Capitol Building to be lit blue in recognition of the month and all children affected by abuse and neglect.
From Penn Live, April 4, 2023