HARRISBURG, Pa. (April 3, 2019) – “Lean on Me” resonated loudly throughout the Pennsylvania State Capitol today as state leaders, child advocates, volunteers, and business leaders added their voices to those of young performers as Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance, a leader in child protection, PA’s largest credit union, PSECU, Weis Markets, and the Outdoor Advertising Association of Pennsylvania honored five PA Blue Ribbon Champions for Safe Kids during National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Miss Pennsylvania 2018 Kayla Repasky, students from Mechanicsburg High School Chamber Ensemble, Harrisburg School District Foose and Ben Franklin Elementary School Choirs and soloists Madison Oliverio from Trinity High School and Davio Giles of Harrisburg High encouraged everyone in the Commonwealth to protect children, and make their safety a top priority to end this horrendous public health epidemic.
The Capitol featured a giant, wooden birthday cake, built and donated by Home Depot of Lower Paxton, Harrisburg, along with 40 wrapped gifts representing 40 children who lost their lives to abuse in one year in the state, as well as birthdays never celebrated. Outside, blue flags honor 4,693 children who sadly were victims of child abuse, each representing a child affected by abuse. The PA Department of Human Services declared it #WearBlueDay.
“Child abuse, neglect and intentional death are tragic, senseless and horrific crimes we must not tolerate. Together, we all have an obligation to stop the death and pain endured by our beautiful children. All of us must accept that responsibility throughout the Keystone State, not just for our own families, but for all children,” said Angela M. Liddle, MPA, President and CEO of PFSA. “Whether it’s taking a small step or making a large leap in our communities, we must make our future better than our history in making our children’s safety paramount,” she added.
“The cornerstone of our mission focuses on the concept of ‘people helping people,’” said PSECU Vice President of Marketing and Membership Development Barb Bowker. “At PSECU, we believe that this means being a major supporter and proponent of the safety and well-being of the communities and families we serve, as well as being a trusted partner in our members’ financial lives. We truly value the work that PFSA and the Blue Ribbon Champions for Safe Kids do each day to ensure Pennsylvania’s youth are protected and have opportunities to reach their full, unhindered potential. For this reason, we couldn’t be prouder to sponsor the annual awards program again this year.”
An independent panel of judges selected the honorees from nominations submitted statewide. PFSA honored five statewide individuals for their efforts to protect the well-being of children, including two child welfare professionals, two community volunteers, and one media professional.
- Terry Figart, Altoona, Pa., a volunteer with the Cambria/Somerset County Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA.)
- Daniel Dye, Esq., Manheim, Pa., Senior Deputy Attorney General for the PA Office of Attorney General.
- Patricia Kosinski, Newtown Square, Pa., Executive Director of Family Support Line in Media.
- Rick Wess, Johnstown, Pa, CASA volunteer in Cambria/Somerset County.
- WGAL -TV, Lancaster, Pa.
“All Pennsylvanians play a role in keeping our children safe, and we must not take this responsibility lightly,” said DHS Secretary Teresa Miller. “It is important for us to stand together and remember this critical cause. We must continue to be the voice for children who are often unable to be heard, and we must do what we can, so all kids can grow up happy, cared for, and safe.”
Harrisburg businesses, the Capitol, downtown bridges, and beyond are helping to shine blue lights in April for child abuse prevention. The PA Turnpike’s 17 Service Plazas feature digital messages like those used in PFSA’s statewide billboard campaign, “Learn How to #ProtectPAKids.”
According to the latest Pennsylvania Department of Human Services’ Annual Child Protective Services Report, 40 children in the Commonwealth died of child abuse in 2017, which translates to a busload of children. A total of 4,693 children were victims of abuse, including 88 children who suffered near-fatal injuries. For more information, visit pafsa.org or call 800-448-4906.
About Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance
Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance prevents child abuse and protects children from harm by helping parents learn positive parenting techniques, educating professionals and volunteers who work with children to recognize and report child abuse, and helping community members learn how they can play a positive role in keeping children safe. To learn more about our programs, schedule a training, or make a donation, please visit pa-fsa.org, or call 800-448-4906.