FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Chicago, Illinois, April 23, 2010 – Prevent Child Abuse America has announced that Jacksonville, Florida has been chosen as the first Pinwheel City USA. This Pinwheel City USA designation is intended to further advance Prevent Child Abuse America’s Pinwheels for Prevention national campaign which encourages policies and practices that promote healthy child development and child abuse and neglect prevention nationwide. It also recognizes that for our nation to think about child abuse and neglect prevention in a new way, communities and neighborhoods of all sizes across the nation must re-think how each adult can play a role in helping children have the best possible start in life.
“When we launched this effort, we wanted to identify cities that not only talk the talk when it comes to the prevention of child abuse and neglect, but also walk the walk,” said Jim Hmurovich, President & CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America. “It quickly became clear to us that there was no better place to start than Jacksonville, Florida.”
Jacksonville was a relatively easy choice that was unanimously approved by the National Board of Directors of Prevent Child Abuse America. Jacksonville has a multi-disciplinary team focused on the prevention of child abuse and neglect that has developed a community plan for prevention that will be implemented between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2015. Jacksonville also has a strong partnership with the Florida chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America, Prevent Child Abuse Florida which is housed at the Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida, and implements Pinwheels for Prevention, Circle of Parents and Healthy Families Florida. In addition, Jacksonville was a partner in Prevent Child Abuse Florida’s development of the statewide safe sleep campaign.
“Jacksonville is the type of city in which most people would want to live. The community values children and sees the importance of preventing abuse and neglect from occurring in the first place,” continued Hmurovich.
“The Florida Department of Children and Families works with community partners in Jacksonville and across the state to prevent child abuse and neglect by helping families,” said George Sheldon, Secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families. “DCF’s many local partners, including our community-based care agencies and others, are experts in connecting families with the resources they need. By acknowledging parents’ strengths and helping families overcome obstacles to healthy child development, we are building a strong foundation for future academic success, economic productivity and responsible citizenship.”
The Pinwheel City celebration will take place Saturday, April 24th from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Hemming Plaza in downtown Jacksonville. Nearly a dozen non-profit agencies that provide prevention services to local children will participate and more than 200 families are expected to attend. The free family celebration will feature fun activities for children including face painting, bounce houses, clowns and more. The event is free and open to the public.
“The event was originally intended to officially commemorate child abuse prevention month, and we’re excited to have another reason to celebrate,” said Jim Adams, CEO of Family Support Services. “All of the agencies that are participating work tirelessly for our children every day. As we launch phase two of our foster care redesign initiative, we will continue to think of new ways to ensure that all local children, especially those who are most vulnerable, are given the best possible care.”
“We’re proud of this significant national recognition for Jacksonville,” said Nancy Dreicer, Northeast Region Director for the Florida Department of Children and Families. “It is well deserved, since our innovative Foster Care Redesign program has earned national acclaim for reducing the number of children in foster care by more than 62 percent in three and a half years. We’re providing more services to prevent future abuse and keep children safe in their own homes with their own families. This recognition is coming at an excellent time, as we launch Phase Two of our Foster Care Redesign in conjunction with our community-based care partner, Family Support Services of North Florida,” said Dreicer.
Mr. Hmurovich will be on hand and accepting the award on behalf of the city will be Jacksonville City Council Vice President Jack Webb.
“As the Florida chapter of PCA America, the Ounce of Prevention Fund is both honored and proud to be a part of this important occasion. I am impressed, but not the least bit surprised that my home town of Jacksonville will be the first to achieve this significant designation. This beautiful city on the St. Johns is often recognized for embracing innovation and prioritizing issues that impact residents’ quality of life,” said Douglas Sessions, Jr., President and CEO of the Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida.