You Are Here : Home Tuesday, May 31, 2016


30,050 cases of child abuse were investigated and proved in the state of

Illinois in 2013 8,483 of these cases were in Cook County alone









Child Abuse Prevention Month







Keeping Our Promise to Protect


In its ongoing commitment to the ministry of protecting children, the Office for the Protection of Children and

Youth has put together suggestions for parishes, schools, religious education programs and other Church

organizations to use during the month of April, which is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. In doing so, we

continue to pray for those affected by the sin of child abuse, but also want to bring attention to those healthy

practices that promote healthy child development.

We have compiled a number of resources for you to use at your parish or school. We also have as the centerpiece of

our efforts this year a planting of a pinwheel garden at the Healing Garden (1080 West Roosevelt Road, Chicago)

on Friday, April 15, 2016 at 11:30 a..m. We invite all schools and religious education programs to participate in the

prayer service, if they are able, or create a similar garden at your school/parish.


Prayer Service at the Healing Garden:

The Archdiocese of Chicago dedicated the Healing Garden in June 2011 to all survivors of sexual abuse. As one

victim-survivor best put it, “The Healing Garden represents new life and new possibilities where there once

was only despair, sadness and pain.” The Garden is located on the grounds of Holy Family Parish.

The Office of Assistance Ministry and Safe Environment Office along with the Healing Garden Committee

invite schools and parishes to participate in a planting of a Pinwheels & Blue Ribbons Garden at the Healing

Garden Site. You can participate in two ways.

This year’s Prayer Service will be held on Friday, April 15 2016 at 11:30 a.m. at the Healing Garden Site (Holy

Family Parish, 1080 W. Roosevelt Road, Chicago). The outdoor service usually runs for an hour. Hanging blue

ribbons and planting pinwheels will be part of service. We invite all to join us in prayer and song.

If you are unable to attend the event, there are simple ways to have your community at the parish or school

commemorate that April is child abuse prevention month:

Hold your own prayer service at your parish and/or school. The Healing Garden Prayer is posted

online to use

Create a banner, pinwheel, poem or other creative display about child abuse prevention and send a

photo to the Office for the Protection of Children & Youth: we will display images of your projects on

our webpage.

Consider creating your own pinwheel garden and hanging blue ribbons (around trees, on fences/gates,

etc.) at your parish/school.

Dedicate a moment during Mass or school assembly to child abuse prevention: make an

announcement, say a prayer, read a poem, or have a moment of silence.

Visit the Healing Garden website at for more information.


Resources to Use throughout April:

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has developed resources to be used during the month of


Liturgy Resource Guide

Prayer Service for Healing

Child Abuse Prevention Blessing



Pinwheels for Prevention

Pinwheels for Prevention campaign is part of a national movement by Prevent Child Abuse America [PCA] to not

only raise awareness to child abuse, but also to promote supporting positive practices to allow healthy child


The Archdiocese of Chicago joins PCA America in planting pinwheel gardens throughout the archdiocese to

remind each of us of the important role we play in children’s and young people’s daily lives.

Instructions for Make Your Own Pinwheel is available online on the Archdiocese of Chicago


History: The Blue Ribbon and Pinwheels

The blue ribbon has been a national symbol of child abuse awareness since 1989 when Bonnie Finney,

a grandmother whose 3-year-old grandson died at the hands of his mother’s abusive boyfriend, tied a

blue ribbon to her van as a support of her personal commitment to involve everyone in the effort to

raise awareness of child abuse.

While the blue ribbon has served the purpose of increasing awareness of the prevalence of abuse and

neglect in communities, the message developed around the ribbons became a barrier to advancing the

prevention of abuse and neglect in terms of behavior change, societal solutions and policy priorities.

As the focus of the message shifted from the problem of abuse to the solution of effective prevention, a

symbol that would represent this shift and provide an imagery of healthy child development was

identified. Thus, in 2004, after looking into a variety of options, PCA Florida selected the pinwheel

and adopted Winds of Change as the statewide campaign. In 2008, PCA America adopted the

pinwheel and created a national signature campaign called Pinwheels for Prevent. [Source: Pinwheels for

Prevention – 2011 Pinwheels for Prevention Toolkit}


Children Matter Network

Children Matter Network was developed by the Office for the Protection of Children and Youth as a resource

for parents and caregivers, educators…and anyone who has children and young people in their lives, and wants

to find resources to protect them and help promote healthy child development.


Bulletin Ads

Attached are bulletin ads that can be placed in parish bulletins, parents’ newsletters on parish/schools

websites. Please also consider posting links to OPCY

[], PCA America [],

Healing Garden [], Children Matter Network [] on

your websites.


Preventing child abuse is an ongoing effort and




We would welcome other suggestions for ways to raise awareness and promote healthy child development. If

you have a story or picture to share, please forward them to the Office for the Protection of Children and Youth,

attention Mayra Flores, Safe Environment Office (312-534-5238 or

If someone you know is a victim of sexual abuse and is seeking services, please have them call Tom Tharayil or

Ruth Robinson at the Office of Assistance Ministry (312-534-8267 or

 Office for the Protection of Children & Youth












What is child Abuse and Neglect?


Physical Abuse_an injury to a child that is not an accident, may include hitting, punching,beating, burning, biting, kicking, cutting, shaking, or any action that physcially harms a child.


Emotional abuse_maltreatment of a child that may involve criticizing,insulting,yelling, swearing, manipulating, rejecting or withholding love.


Sexual abuse-anysexual activity with a child, including exhibitionism,photographs or videos,pornography, prostitution, fondling, or rape.

Neglect-failure to provide for a child's basic physical, emotional, medical or educational needs.


Who Abuses Children?

Most ofthen the abuser is someone the child knows, such as a parent,relative. neighbor or friend fo the family.


Where Does child Abuse Happen?

 Wherever children are, where they live, sleep, learn or play.


How often Does child Abuse Occur?


Each year, close to 3 million repors of suspected abuse are filed in the United States. Many more cases never get reported. One victim of child abuse is one too many!



Where are Illinois Statistics Available?


The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services


Prevent Child Abuse Illinois


















Copyright 2011 by Office for the Protection of Children and Youth
Terms Of Use | Privacy Statement