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Douglas County helps put focus on child abuse

Symbolic pinwheels planted at ceremony as part of nationwide drive

Posted

Highlands Ranch residents may wonder why shiny blue pinwheels line the south side of Highlands Ranch Parkway, near the sheriff's substation, at 9250 Zotos Drive.

On April 3, to address a growing concern in the community, Douglas County commissioners proclaimed April as Child Abuse Prevention Month at a ceremony at the sheriff's substation. The pinwheel — the national symbol for child abuse prevention — signifies “whimsy and childlike notions,” Prevent Child Abuse America says.

Douglas County commissioners, the department of human services, the sheriff's department and the county's faith-based partners hosted the ceremony. Dozens of community members attended to show support, listen to speakers and plant pinwheels to honor the cause.

Thomas, whose district covers Highlands Ranch, painted a picture of the issue. The Douglas County Department of Human Services received 4,025 reports of child abuse or neglect in 2017, she said. The goal of this month, Thomas said, is to “promote the social and emotional well-being of children and families.”

District Attorney George Brauchler, who has four young children, hopes that in the future, such a month won't be needed.

“If we can do that job of protecting these kids, that is the best crime-fighting tool we could ever have,” he said.

For Spurlock, it will take a community effort to make a difference.

“If we make an effort in our school level and our community level, the home will follow,” he said.

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