Thousands of pinwheels have been planted across the nation this month, and at the Schultz Health and Human Service building in Aspen to raise awareness during Child Abuse Prevention Month. Each of the 89 spinning, blue and silver pinwheels planted in the ground in Aspen represents a child abuse/neglect report made in Pitkin County during the 2017 calendar year and represent hope for children's' well-being and happiness. On Friday, April 20th from 2 to 5 p.m. Pitkin County Adult and Family Services representatives with the Aspen Police Department will be serving pizza, cookies, and soda and offer more information about their services and to all who stop by their tent to be located at Ruby Park near the bus station.
“Pitkin County Adult and Family Services (AFS) believes in supporting children, youth and families in a way that keeps children safe while respecting the rights and values of the families we work with,” said Adult and Family Services Manager, Matt McGaugh. We work with families to address child safety concerns when needed, and recognize that every family has strengths, resources, and the ability to make decisions for their own child(ren)’s safety,” McGaugh said.
Pitkin County AFS offers families a wide array of supportive services to help support the safety, health, and goals of each family and preventing child abuse and neglect is a priority.
Over the past three years, the Pitkin County AFS team has made significant progress in developing a “prevention” services continuum. In collaboration with many local partners, Pitkin County AFS secured funding to support and help open the Aspen Family Connections (Family Resource Center) at the Aspen Middle School.
“After two full years of partnering with Aspen Family Connections and other key partners, we’ve seen an increase in the amount of therapeutic and other supportive services being utilized outside a traditional child welfare case.This has helped reduce the amount of child abuse and neglect referrals we see compared with previous years,” said McGaugh.
The State of Colorado’s Department of Human Services continues to support child protection agencies to provide prevention services encouraging families to build on their highest potential to raise healthy children.
There are many partnering agencies locally that offer programs intended to have a positive impact on children and families including: Kids First, an early childhood resource center supporting quality, affordable childcare choices in Aspen and Pitkin County; Smart Start, a program that offers financial assistance to low income families for early childhood educational assistance, and Stop Fighting It Hurts, a website that provides easy access to resources for families and information about how unhealthy fighting impacts children.
More information about local programs that support healthy families is available at www.stopfightingithurts.com. If abuse or neglect is suspected at any time, any day, citizens are urged to call the local 24-hour hotline at 1-844-CO-4-Kids (1-844-264-5437).
Contact: Matt McGaugh
Adult and Child Protection Manager: 970-429-2042; firstname.lastname@example.org