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and Self-Reliance of All Montanans.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 14, 2014

Contact:   

Jon Ebelt, Public Information Officer, DPHHS, (406) 444-0936
Chuck Council, Communications Specialist, DPHHS, (406) 444-4391

Pinwheels for Prevention event is April 15

First Lady, child advocates to raise awareness about the prevention of child abuse and neglect

HELENA - First Lady Lisa Bullock is teaming up with the Montana Children’s Trust Fund and Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies-MT (HMHB-MT) to raise awareness about the prevention of child abuse and neglect during a Pinwheels for Prevention event Tuesday, April 15 at 11 a.m. in the Capitol Rotunda.

The event is being held in conjunction with various other National Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month activities taking place statewide in April.

The First Lady, child abuse prevention advocates, and local youth will gather to urge Montanans to become more involved in preventing child abuse and neglect. Event speakers will also highlight effective programs already in place in Montana that provide parents with valuable skills and resources.

The event will conclude with the First Lady and local youth ‘planting’ several blue pinwheels on the Capitol front lawn in support of Montana children.

“Every Montanan plays a critical role in keeping our kids safe,” First Lady Bullock said. “By working together to raise awareness and focus on prevention, we will continue to fight to ensure that no child suffers abuse or neglect in Montana.”

Pinwheels for Prevention is a national public awareness campaign built around the symbol of the pinwheel. According to Jamey Petersen of the Montana Children’s Trust Fund, the pinwheel has a special meaning. “Pinwheels are a happy and uplifting symbol of childhood that conveys the message that every child deserves the chance to be raised in a healthy, safe, and nurturing environment,” she said.

On average, the Department of Public Health and Human Services completes about 7,500 investigations of child abuse and neglect every year involving 11,000 children. Further, as of March 2014, there were 2,362 Montana children in foster care, the highest number of kids in care in at least 14 years.

Petersen says year round the Children’s Trust Fund encourages all individuals and organizations to play a role in making Montana a better place for children and families. “By ensuring that parents have the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to care for their children, we can help foster stronger families in Montana,” she said.

One key effort in Montana that works directly with new parents is the Period of PURPLE Crying Program (PURPLE-MT), administered by HMHB-MT. The PURPLE-MT Program educates new parents about early infant crying, coping strategies, and Shaken Baby Syndrome.

According to HMHB-MT, there are currently 20 of 29 birthing hospitals and clinics in Montana who now administer the PURPLE-MT Program. “This program gives nurses and physicians the training and tools they need to share a positive message with parents, so they can understand and cope with early infant crying and never resort to shaking a baby,” said PURPLE-MT Program Manager Gail Beckner. 

In 2010, St. Peter’s Hospital was the first hospital in Montana to implement this initiative. “The PURPLE-MT Program has allowed us to help countless new moms and dads,” said Brenda Freborg, director of the Women and Children’s Unit at St. Peter’s Hospital. “This program emphasizes that crying is normal in newborns—it’s not a reflection of their parenting skills. PURPLE-MT really helps clear up misconceptions and helps us send new parents home with information they can use right away.”

 

What:

Pinwheels for Prevention event to promote prevention of child abuse and neglect.

Who:

Montana’s First Lady Lisa Bullock
Mary Gallagher, Montana Children’s Trust Fund Board Chair
Brenda Freborg, Director of Women and Children’s Unit, St. Peter’s Hospital
Sarah Corbally, Child and Family Services Division Administrator

Where:

Capitol Rotunda, Helena
1301 E 6th Ave

When:

Tuesday, April 15, from 11 to 11:30 a.m. (reception to follow)

About the Children’s Trust Fund
This month and throughout the year, the Montana Children’s Trust Fund encourages all individuals and organizations to play a role in making Montana a better place for children and families. By ensuring that parents have the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to care for their children, we can help promote children’s social and emotional well-being and prevent child maltreatment within families and communities.

Created by the Montana Legislature in 1985, the Montana Children’s Trust Fund works to reduce and ultimately eliminating maltreatment of Montana children. The trust fund provides financial support to local programs across the state to prevent child abuse and neglect and strengthen families. For more information about the Montana Children’s Trust Fund contact Jamey Petersen at jpetersen@mt.gov or 444-3002.

Page last updated 04/14/2014