“I’m sad to say we have a lot more victims than pinwheels,” Walker County District Judge Henry Allred said. “It’s a big problem across the country, and it’s a big problem here in Walker County.”
The crowd gathered represented local groups that help victims of child abuse and neglect, as well as work toward preventing the abuse through education and providing resources.
“Unfortunately, we will never work ourselves out of a job,” Sears said. “... Sadly, there will always be pinwheels.”
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and the Pinwheels for Prevention is a part of the way groups raise awareness of the issue every year.
Joeva Briggs, of Baby Talk, a community resource aimed at helping people with children from newborns to 3 year olds, spoke about the need for the CAC. She said for many years she witnessed children in the county who couldn’t get help after they had been abused and had to wait years for their abusers to be brought to justice, if at all.
“There was no place like this for them to go and tell their story,” Briggs said.
Baby Talk served more than 4,000 children over the last year through hospital visits for newborns and newsletters. They are located at the Jasper Area Family Services Center. Baby Talk can be contacted at (205)387-0511, ext. 5832.
Parent Project is another resource in the county that provides parenting classes and assistance for parents and at-risk teens. They have served 70 families since beginning in August. Director Kim Hobson can be contacted at (205)522-3390.
Wanda Spears was also in attendance. She heads the Fatherhood Initiative. Since starting in October, the program has helped 27 fathers understand the importance of being in their child’s lives, taking financial responsibility for them and helping them increase their job skills to make that possible.
Spears said they have recently launched a Motherhood Initiative as well. In the first eight weeks of that program, they have helped 12 mothers understand the importance of a child having their father and how to help make that happen, as well as helping them find resources to assist them.
The Fatherhood and Motherhood Initiatives are located at the Jasper Area Family Services Center and can be reached at (205) 387-0511, ext. 5840.