MIAMI, Okla.  –  April is Child Abuse Awareness Month, and the child advocacy centers in Ottawa and Delaware counties spent the month bringing attention to the state’s most vulnerable residents.

The Child Advocacy Center in Ottawa County and the Delaware County Children’s Special Advocacy Network in Jay provide support for children and help process cases through the judicial system involving abused and neglected children and sexual abuse victims.

“The Child Advocacy Center of Ottawa County in Miami planted 189 blue pinwheels to represent 189 reported victims of child abuse or sexual abuse in 2021,” said Leslie Bissell, executive director.

Nationwide, the pinwheel was established as the child abuse prevention symbol in 2008. The pinwheel serves as a physical reminder of a wonderful childhood and the cyclical nature of the pinwheel represents the positive cycles of love and support.

According to the Department of Human Services’ most recent report, of the 694 child abuse cases investigated in Ottawa County 130 cases were substantiated and of the 747 cases investigated in Delaware County 118 cases were substantiated for the 2018 fiscal year.   

“In 2021 DCCSAN was involved in 256 cases and performed 172 forensic interviews,” said Jill McAbee, executive director.

In Delaware County, businesses, fire departments, and other agency employees dressed in ”tutus” with the motto “Child Abuse is Tutu Important to Keep Quiet.” Photographs of the campaign were featured on DCCSAN’s social media site.