Onorato Proclaims April “Child Abuse Prevention Month,”

Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato today proclaimed April “Child Abuse Prevention Month” and announced a partnership among the County’s Department of Human Services, Family Resources, and A Child’s Place at Mercy to raise public awareness about abuse. With the message “Be a Difference in a Child’s Life,” all residents are encouraged to share in the responsibility of preventing child abuse and neglect.

“Every child is entitled to feel loved, safe and secure,” said Onorato. “I encourage everyone to join in this effort by speaking up and offering support to parents, guardians and caregivers. Our goal is to make Allegheny County a safer place for our children, and we can make a difference if we work together as a community.”

The public awareness campaign encourages bystanders to offer support and understanding to parents and other caregivers who may be overwhelmed. Campaign ads will be aired on various radio and cable television stations, and posters will be displayed on public transportation.

“We have all seen parents become overwhelmed or stressed by a child’s behavior,” said Family Resources Executive Director Walter H. Smith Jr. “Most of us want to help, but aren’t sure how. Try connecting with the parent and offer some support. And when a child is unsafe, don’t ignore the situation.”

“Tips include reassuring a parent or caregiver by saying, ‘I remember when my child used to do that ­– hang in there,’ or recognizing that it is not always easy being a parent and offering to help,” said Human Services Director Marc Cherna. “Sometimes an extra pair of hands is all that is needed by a frazzled parent.”

Parents, guardians or caregivers who need assistance can call the WARMLINE at Family Resources at 800-641-4546 where they can speak confidentially to a trained volunteer who can offer parenting tips or advice on how to stay calm when stress levels rise.

“Child abuse causes physical and emotional pain,” said Dr. Mary Carrasco, director of A Child’s Place at Mercy. “If you notice a child is injured and you suspect abuse, you can make an anonymous call to the Allegheny County Department of Human Services Child Abuse Report line at 412-473-2000.”

For an evaluation for possible child abuse, call A Child’s Place at Mercy at 412-232-7200 or visit www.achildsplaceatmercy.org.

For additional information on Child Abuse Prevention Month in Allegheny County, visit www.alleghenycounty.us/dhs/childabuseprevention.aspx.