Community shows support for child neglect and abuse prevention programs

HONOLULU - Eli Joor, 8, held the shiny blue metallic pinwheel in his hands and carefully placed it onto the lawn of the State Capitol building here, April 20.

Numerous other community volunteers followed suit.

"This is my third year doing this," said Joor. "I'm helping kids like me."

More than 5,000 pinwheels graced the lawn, representing the number of phone calls received each year by The Parent Line, a confidential statewide hotline that offers support and information to parents, caregivers and professionals regarding issues of child abuse and neglect.

"We ask the community to come out with signs supporting child abuse and neglect prevention programs and legislation," said Chet Akessa, Pinwheels for Prevention volunteer chairperson. "Our profound wish is that one day there is no need for a child abuse prevention rally because there will be no abused children."

The annual event is part of a monthlong series of events funded by the State Department of Health to observe April as Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Outside of the capitol building, passing cars slowed down to get a closer look at volunteers holding signs reading "Prevent Child Abuse" and "April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month."

Registered nurse Elaine Homont, a New Parent Support Program home visitor at U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, Army Community Service, placed more pinwheels on the lawn.

"At New Parent Support, we aim to prevent child abuse through education," said Homont. "Events like this impact the whole community by bringing this issue to their attention."

"It's everyone working together to prevent child abuse by being aware," Homont continued, adding that prevention information is readily available to the community.

More than 3.5 million reports were made to Child Protective Services concerning the safety and well-being of approximately 6 million children in the U.S. in 2006, according to Prevent Child Abuse America. The reports said an estimated 905,000 children are victims of child abuse and neglect.
Prevent Child Abuse Hawaii, the Hawaii Chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America, and the Child Abuse Prevention Planning Council sponsored the Pinwheels for Prevention Project.

For more information about the Pinwheels for Prevention program or about child abuse prevention programs and activities throughout the year, call Prevent Child Abuse Hawaii at 808-951-0200 or go to