A celebration of innovation, healthy child development, and what might be.

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A celebration of innovation, healthy child development, and what might be.

CHICAGO, IL, May 7, 2013 – The internet is abuzz this week with a posting at GIZMODO that celebrates a new child abuse and neglect ad which they state “has a secret.”

The secret is that via a “lenticular top layer,” which allows different messages to be seen at different angles, adults see a sad child and message that reads "sometimes, child abuse is only visible to the child suffering it," and children see a bruised child and receive a different message which reads, "if somebody hurts you, phone us and we’ll help you."

We applaud any effort to reduce child abuse and neglect and so we also celebrate the innovation being displayed with this ad. At the same time, we want to share the lessons we have learned to provide a teachable moment as well.

What isn’t different about this approach is the message itself, especially the message being directed towards adults. Nor is it different in terms of its use of graphic, imagery. Further, it is not a message about prevention, and we cannot overlook prevention if we are going to talk about child abuse and neglect.

We understand there is an effort here to empower children, which we applaud as well, but what science tells us, is that we need to tell a different story when we talk about preventing abuse and neglect, and that story is one about solutions, about children finding adults they can trust, and that ultimately prevention is about adults taking responsibility for the children, all children, in their lives and communities.

Our research is very clear that for the adults seeing this message, pictures of abused or sad children don’t engage or activate them, not most of us anyway, but instead have the opposite effect, the message may wow us, or sadden us, but it does not prompt us to take action.

All of which might lead you to assume that we are not excited about the possibilities of this ad or what it represents; but we are…..just for different reasons.

This ad shows us that innovation is possible when it comes to the work of preventing child abuse and neglect, and that smart, creative people want to play a role in doing so. We just need to ensure that their science and creativity is matched with our science, and what makes prevention messages effective.

So, please take this statement as a celebration of what might be, people of all kinds, with unique skills, joining us in the fight for healthy child development in communities everywhere.

“The call to action here is simple,” says James M. Hmurovich, President & CEO, Prevent Child Abuse America, “we call on everyone to learn more about what we do to raise awareness, and how we do it, policymakers, funders, community members, and creative people, and then work with us to tell a new story in their places of work, worship, and where they live - a story about healthy child development, solutions, and the role we all play in the prevention of child abuse and neglect before it ever occurs."


Prevent Child Abuse America, founded in 1972 in Chicago, works to ensure the healthy development of children nationwide. The organization promotes that vision through a network of chapters in 50 states and 580 Healthy Families America sites in 40 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and Canada. A major organizational focus is to advocate for the existence of a national policy framework and strategy for children and families while promoting evidence-based practices that prevent abuse and neglect from ever occurring. To learn more about what we’re doing to prevent child abuse and neglect and how you can help, please visit our websites,
preventchildabuse.org and healthyfamiliesamerica.org.

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Prevent Child Abuse America, its VA and MD Chapters to Celebrate Great Childhoods at ‘National Pinwheel Garden’ on National Mall

Prevent Child Abuse America, its VA and MD Chapters to Celebrate Great Childhoods at ‘National Pinwheel Garden’on National Mall

General Federation of Women’s Clubs, Sigma Delta Tau,  Kappa Delta and Chartwells K12 to Partner on October 13th event

CHICAGO, IL October 7, 2015 – On Tuesday, October 13, Prevent Child Abuse America and its Virginia and Maryland chapters will celebrate the great childhoods that all children deserve with a “National Pinwheel Garden” at 11:00am ET near the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The pinwheel, derived from Prevent Child Abuse America’s Pinwheels for Prevention® campaign, is the symbol for child abuse prevention, introduced by the organization nationally in 2008.

The public and members of event partners General Federation of Women’s Clubs, Sigma Delta Tau, Kappa Delta and Chartwells K12 are being invited to celebrate the people who helped them enjoy great childhoods by having pinwheels planted in their honor in the National Pinwheel Garden.

Individuals can purchase and dedicate pinwheels at www.preventchildabuse.org/greatchildhoods through Monday, October 12. On Tuesday, October 13, the pinwheels will be planted on the National Mall.

“The pinwheel allows us to engage people in a new way,” said Prevent Child Abuse America President and CEO James M. Hmurovich. “It provides us with an engaging device to move beyond merely making people aware of child abuse prevention, but motivating them to take action on its behalf. From acts big and small, from providing busy parents with a break to signing onto letters to Congress, each of us can, and must, play a role in ensuring great childhoods for our nation’s children. This event in the nation’s capital is one more way to convey that message to the country.”

The National Pinwheel Garden is part of a nationwide series of pinwheel-themed events staged by Prevent Child Abuse America and its 50 state chapters throughout the year to promote the actions we can all take to help ensure great childhoods for all children. 

Jared Fogle and the Roles We Can All Play in the Lives of Children

Jared Fogle and the Roles We Can All Play in the Lives of Children

CHICAGO, IL, August 21, 2015 – When we hear stories like that about former Subway spokesperson Jared Fogle who has been charged with child pornography and child prostitution, it can be shocking. It can cause confusion. It can cause anger. And these reactions make sense.

However, we can’t allow these reactions to prevent us from taking action, because at Prevent Child Abuse America we know – and the research shows – that there are steps that each of us can take that can help prevent a situation like this from happening in the future.

At Prevent Child Abuse America we believe that all children deserve great childhoods because our children are our future. This seems like such a simple sentiment, but it drives our work every day, because it speaks to the many things that we want for our children – all children – and our nation: healthy, productive adults who have a positive impact on the communities they live in.

We’re sure that you want that too, but at the same time recognize that it is often difficult to act without knowing what to do. In light of this story, we’ve compiled some ideas on how you can make a difference in the lives of children and families in your community, and help you turn your natural feelings of anger or confusion into positive and proactive steps that can make a difference.

For parents, please note that the children in this story appear to have been accessed on-line, and so parents, you must be conscientious in monitoring your children’s on-line use. To quote the Six Pillars for Prevention from National Coalition to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation, “Today’s children and youth have never known a world that is not filled with technology. Since technology is now an integral part of all our daily lives, parents must be diligent in who can access our children and youth.”

For ideas about how to do this, you can use resources like “A Parent’s Guide to Internet Safety” from the FBI.

For our communities, we must work together to end the demand for children as sexual commodities. Rather than responding after the harm and focusing on how to reduce risk for potential victims, we have to identify factors that feed demand for children to be viewed as sexual objects in mainstream media, takes away barriers to sexually abusing/exploiting children, makes it easier to access child sexual abuse images or children/teens depictions in pornography and/or children to buy to sexually exploit.

And for our legal system, we must attend to child victims of sex trafficking as victims, not sex workers. Children, by definition are developmentally incapable of giving consent, even if they think they did. They are victims and deserve to be treated as such. The adults who exploited them must be held accountable and the children offered the help they deserve.

On this final point, we want to be clear: we should not be prosecuting kids who are victims, and many states have passed Safe Harbor laws to avoid doing just that. You can learn more about these laws at the American Bar Association.

“As we work at Prevent Child Abuse America to prevent the abuse and neglect of children before it can ever occur,” said James M. Hmurovich, President & CEO, Prevent Child Abuse America, “we look at strategies that can involve everyone from individuals and families to communities and law makers. This troubling story of Jared Fogle has lessons for all of these areas, and in all of these areas there are roles we can, and must, play.”

Announcing Anita Odom as Senior Director of Chapter Services

Announcing Anita Odom as the Senior Director of Chapter Services

Prevent Child Abuse America is pleased to announce the addition of Anita Odom to The National Office Team beginning September 14, 2015. She will assume the responsibilities of the Senior Director of Chapter Services.

Anita is a well-known and respected member of our organization having served as the Executive Director of Prevent Child Abuse Florida for the past four years. Thanks to her work with the Ounce of Prevention Fund and the Prevent Child Abuse chapter in Florida, Anita is experienced and knowledgeable of chapter network operations. Her “can-do” attitude will serve all of us well in this new role.

Anita is a graduate of Janus Pannonius University in Hungary, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. in Educational Administration. She is also a graduate of Florida State University, Cum Laude, with a B.S. in Sociology. Prior to beginning her career with the Ounce of Prevention Fund in 2004, Anita worked as a Program Assistant and then Program Coordinator for the National Philharmonie in Hungary.

In addition to serving as the Executive Director of Prevent Child Abuse Florida, Anita is also familiar with our Healthy Families America program thanks to her time working as the Healthy Families Plus Program Coordinator in Florida from September 2006 to September 2011.

Please join me in welcoming Anita to the Prevent Child Abuse America National Office. Anita can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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