Pittsburgh, Pa. (April 10, 2019) – The legendary soul song, “Lean on Me”, resonated loudly in the Oxford Centre Building today, as the Pa Family Support Alliance joined with elected officials, child advocates, volunteers, and local business leaders who raised their voices in song and united together to raise awareness about preventing child abuse.
As part of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, the Pa Family Support Alliance hosted the two-part event where students from Pittsburgh’s Creative and Performing Arts School (CAPA) performed a series of songs, and the Southwestern Pa Boys & Girls Club participated in a moving memorial tribute. The tribute was dedicated to the 40 children that died tragically in Pennsylvania in 2017, according to the latest data available from the Department of Human Services’ Annual Child Protective Services Report. The tribute included a giant 9 foot hand painted wooden birthday cake in the center of the room where students took 40 presents away one at time, each present symbolizing the birthdays that the children who passed away will never have.
“No child should ever be neglected or abused and it is our responsibility to work together as a community to ensure that every child living in Pennsylvania has the opportunity to grow up in a safe environment that is free of abuse and neglect,” said Angela M. Liddle, MPA, President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance.
The Pa Family Support Alliance is a non-profit organization that works to prevent child abuse and neglect by helping parents learn positive parenting techniques, and educating professionals and volunteers who work with children to recognize the signs of and report suspected cases of abuse.
During the ceremony, two residents of Allegheny County, Dr. Mary Carrasco, Executive Director of A Child’s Place, and Kristen Glass, a social worker at Jeremiah’s Place, were honored by the Pa Family Support Alliance for their dedication and work to protect children from harm. An independent panel of judges assessed the nominations that were submitted, and selected Carrasco and Glass from the pool of distinguished candidates. Dr. Carrasco received the Pa Family Support Alliance’s Legacy Champion Award and Ms. Glass received the Blue Ribbon Champions for Safe Kids Award—both awards are given to select individuals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to protect the well-being of children.
Cathy Utz, Deputy Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, Second Lady of Pennsylvania Gisele Fetterman, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, and Miss Pennsylvania Kayla Repasky were all in attendance at the ceremony.
“I’m so grateful and in awe of the work PFSA does to protect our children, but also to build strong families and to support stronger communities. Every child deserves to be safe, and PFSA continues to work to ensure that happens in Pennsylvania,” said Giselle Fetterman, Second Lady of Pennsylvania.
Earlier in the day, Pa Family Support Alliance and local volunteers gathered together in the portico at the City-County Building to plant 4,693 Blue Ribbon Flags along sections of Grant Street and the Boulevard of the Allies. The number of flags is significant—each one represents a Pennsylvania child who has been hurt by abuse or neglect in the span of just one year according to substantiated reports.
The Pa Family Support Alliance received support from local organizations for this event including the Outdoor Advertising Association of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union, Highmark Caring Place, One Oxford Centre, UPMC Health Plan, Highmark, Kidsburg, ACHIEVA, Healthy Families Allegheny, Distrikt Hotel, Vibrant Pittsburgh, The Alliance for Infants and Toddlers, Renewal, Inc., Beginnings, Inc., and the Office of Children, Youth and Families at the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, among many others.
“The Highmark Caring Place is proud to be involved with this event to help to keep the spotlight on an issue that should never be in the dark,” said Terese Vorsheck, Director of the Highmark Caring Place. “The number of children represented today is sobering and we need to continue to make sure that every child has the opportunity to grow up in a safe environment.”
About Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance
The 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.