Pinwheels spin as reminder of child abuse
Red, blue and silver pinwheels, 422 of them, were planted on the lawn of the Nevada State Legislature on Thursday so that people could visualize what 422 complaints of abuse or neglect of Carson City children look like.
The display is one of 11 scheduled throughout the state in honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Douglas County’s Family Support Council will plant their county’s 209 pinwheels on the lawn of the Carson Valley Museum and Cultural Center in Gardnerville today.
Chrystal Main, spokeswoman for the Division of Child and Family Services, said Nevada’s child protection agencies received nearly 70,000 complaints of child abuse or neglect for fiscal year 2006. Of those, 33,133 were investigated and 7,000 were substantiated.
“The numbers just indicate the type of concern people have,” Main said of the total. “But we want people to be even more aware.”
Division Deputy Administrator Barbara Legier said the leading causes of child death in Nevada in 2006 were attributed to shaken-baby syndrome, accidents involving teens, co-sleeping in which a parent sleeps with an infant causing accidental suffocation and teen suicide.
She added that with 7,000 cases in which children were removed from their homes, foster families are even more of a necessity.
“We’re struggling to find foster homes,” she said.
Several bills relating to child welfare before the Health and Human Services Committee in the Legislature were sent on to the assembly for a vote recently.
Those bills are:
• AB147 would prohibit a person who takes a child under the age of 6 years into protective custody from placing the child in certain group shelters and require a court to establish a plan with an agency which provides child welfare services for the transfer of a child who is under the age of 6 years and who has been placed in a group shelter to another placement.
• AB261 would authorize an agency which provides child welfare services to release to certain governmental agencies certain information concerning missing children who are in protective custody or with whom the agency has had contact and require an agency which provides child welfare services to release, upon request, certain information relating to a case of abuse or neglect which results in a fatality or near fatality.
• AB263 would require district attorneys, under certain circumstances, to prosecute certain incidents involving a child fatality and authorize an agency that provides child welfare services to release to certain governmental agencies certain information concerning missing children who are in protective custody or with whom the agency has had contact.
• AB305 would create the Legislative Committee on the Health, Welfare, Safety and Protection of Children and create the position of Child Welfare Specialist to audit and survey certain governmental and private facilities that have custody of children pursuant to a court order.
• AB507 which would require certain facilities which have physical custody of children pursuant to the order of a court to ensure that employees who come into direct contact with children in the facilities receive certain training; require an annual inspection of certain facilities located outside of this State which have physical custody of children from this state; require certain child care facilities to be licensed by the Bureau of Services for Child Care of the Division of Child and Family Services of the Department of Health and Human Services rather than by a city or county licensing agency and make various changes concerning the annual inspections of certain facilities which have physical custody of children pursuant to the order of a court.