URBANA — In partnership with other Champaign County criminal justice agencies, the University of Illinois Police Department is participating in the Champaign County Children's Advocacy Center's "Blue Kids" campaign to prevent child abuse.
The Children's Advocacy Center has installed a highly-visible "Blue Kids" silhouette in front of the department on Springfield Avenue for the month of April, which is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Similar signs have been installed at other locations to highlight the tragic reality of child abuse.
“The Children's Advocacy Center is a crucial partner in helping to prevent child abuse in Champaign County,” said U. of I. Police Lt. Tom Geis. “They’ve been a great partner with law enforcement, so we want to do whatever we can to help raise awareness and support the 'Blue Kids' campaign, particularly during National Child Abuse Prevention Month.”
Supporters are encouraged to take a photo with the Blue Kids sign and post it to their Facebook pages. Participants hope that the awareness effort calls attention to the signs of child abuse which exist everywhere, including Champaign County.
The campaign also has its own Facebook page: Blue Kids Champaign County.
This month and throughout the year, the University of Illinois Police Department encourages all individuals and organizations to play a role in making Champaign County a better place for children and families. By ensuring that parents have the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to care for their children, everyone can help prevent child abuse and neglect by making meaningful connections with children, youth and families in our communities.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, research shows that protective factors are present in healthy families. Promoting these factors is among the most effective ways to reduce the risk of child abuse and neglect. They are:
- Nurturing and attachment
- Knowledge of parenting and of child and youth development
- Parental resilience
- Social connections
- Concrete supports for parents
- Social and emotional competence of children
Other facts to know:
- One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday.
- The Children's Advocacy Center of Champaign County interviews 200 children per year and provides counseling and other services to the children and their family members.
- Child abuse is never the child's fault.
- The Children's Advocacy Center's motto is "Listen. Believe. Protect."
- Child abuse is a crime based on secrecy, so raising public awareness helps to encourage children to report abuse.
Donations to help fund counseling and other programs can be sent to: CAC, 201 W. Kenyon Road, Champaign, IL 61820.
For more information, visit the Children's Advocacy Center online at www.co.champaign.il.us/cac.