In support of National Child Abuse Awareness Month, University Medical Center placed pinwheels in their courtyard’s garden Monday morning. 

“It makes people ask questions, be aware of what is going on so they know. Obviously knowledge is power,” said Nancy Leal, director of Pediatrics and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at UMC. 

Staff from the pediatric department gathered around to pray for children suffering from abuse, followed by placement of the pinwheels, a national symbol of child abuse awareness and prevention.

The pinwheels were donated by Sondra’s Song, an organization in Lubbock that helps foster children who are aging out of foster care, said Leal. 

This event led the way for “Go Blue Lubbock,”  an annual project by the South Plains Coalition for Child Abuse Prevention and community partners to help fight against child abuse.

“Lubbock is a community sadly that has an extremely high rate of child abuse and neglect,” said Carla Olson, executive director of Parenting Cottage.

In 2017, Child Protective Services reported 1,203 cases of confirmed abuse in Lubbock. For every 1,000 children in Lubbock, about 13 children were victims, while the national count is about eight children.

“Ours is considerably higher than other communities, some of which are larger than ours,” said Olson, also chairman of the South Plains Coalition for Child Abuse Prevention.

About 40 percent of victims below the age of 3 are victims. Olson described these individuals as those who do not communicate well and are not yet in school.

“If you can help those parents learn better parenting skills, they may not make or repeat the same generational issues that were in their family,” she added.

The best way to prevent child abuse is educating the public, she said. 

“We need to provide opportunities to get parenting education,” Olson said.

For more information on events this month, visit Go Blue Lubbock’s website