BRAZIL, Ind. (WTHI) - You may notice pretty pinwheels planted across the Wabash Valley this month. The pinwheel is a symbol of Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Child advocates and foster parents gathered at the Clay County Courthouse in Brazil for a ceremony Monday evening. It began inside with words from local leaders about resources and ways to prevent abuse and neglect. People then gathered on the lawn to plant three hundred blue and silver pinwheels.
Becky Malone works at CRADLES, a non-profit organization aimed at helping young parents get an education by helping with childcare. She says the pinwheels will grab the attention of people traveling by them.
"I think it's a whimsical, childish part of life that just says children have the right to laugh and know joy and have their needs met."
Recent data shows more Hoosier children are entering the foster care system. There's been a fifty-eight percent increase in the last five years.
The Indiana Department of Child Services is removing more and more children from homes because parents are abusing drugs, according to research compiled by the Indiana Youth Institute.
And, more calls are coming in to report abuse and neglect. Experts estimate a call comes in every two minutes.
Clay County CASA Director Shannon Willmore says, "I have people tell me all the time that they report, report, report, and nothing happens. However, let me just say, after you make that call, you don't know what happens behind the scenes. You don't know what the investigation finds and what services might be offered to a family because you made the call."
Child advocates say there is some good news.
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb plans to sign Senate Enrolled Act 233. The law would require DCS to form a group consisting of foster parents and experts. That group would then create a document detailing the rights and responsibilities of foster parents. This document has been called the Foster Parent Bill of Rights.
The signing ceremony is at 2:20 pm Tuesday in Indianapolis. Local foster mom and Indiana Foster and Adoptive Parents CEO Kristi Cundiff will join State Senator Jon Ford at the Statehouse for the signing.
Malone says, "We are crying for foster parents and we just need to equip them and bring a support system together to help that happen."
Pinwheel planting will continue across the Valley. The public is invited to the Vigo County Courthouse steps This Wednesday at noon for a Child Abuse Prevention Month ceremony. People can help plant the pinwheels in the yard and get a free lunch.
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