April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

Child Abuse Prevention Month has been observed each April since its first presidential proclamation in 1983.

In 1989 a grandmother from Virginia, Bonnie Finney, began the Blue Ribbon Campaign when she tied a blue ribbon to the antenna of her van “to make people wonder.” The story this grandmother told was a tragic story about the abuse of her grandchildren, which ultimately led to the brutal death of her grandson.

“Of course, I knew something was wrong as I sat at the side of my grandson at the hospital,” Finney said in her story. “I saw fear on his face, the bruises on his body, and the healing cigarette burns on his hands. His doctor did not believe my daughter’s story saying that he fell in slippery water in the bathtub.”

After the ordeal at the hospital, Finney’s grandson was placed into foster care for three weeks.

“He cried when they came to take him back to his mother,” said Finney. “I ached for this dilemma, but I was not physically able to care for him.”

Since then, Finney never saw him again.

“We learned he had been killed, wrapped in a sheet, stuffed in a tool box and dumped into the dismal swamp three months earlier,” Finney said. “My grandchildren had suffered and battled so much throughout their young lives that it sickened me. My life was turned into physical and mental chaos. My efforts to understand became a plea to stop abusing children. I tied a blue ribbon on my van antenna to make people wonder.”

Finney used blue because she intended to never to forget the battered, bruised bodies of her grandchildren.

“That color serves as a constant reminder to me to fight for protection for our children,” said Finney.

This year, once again, the Macoupin County Public Health Department is asking everyone to wear blue on Friday, April 9.

The MCPHD has released the following statement.

“Posting pictures of us dressed in blue will cause others to ask why. Our message that ‘Every Child Deserves a Great Childhood’ will hopefully go viral. Research shows that most Americans are already involved in helping to prevent child abuse and neglect. Did you know that when you mentor a child or parent, advocate for policies that support the next generation, or donate time or money to local child-serving organizations, you are actually helping to prevent child abuse and neglect?

Check out Prevent Child Abuse Illinois online or contact the MCPHD at 217-930-2285 for more information.