URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — Sadly, the Central Illinois region is no exception to having children endure abuse or neglect. In fact, the area saw more substance exposed infants in 2021 than any other did. Thankfully, the Crisis Nursery in Urbana, CASA and the Children’s Advocacy Center make it their mission to see that end.

Together, those three local non-profits strive every day to prevent abuse from happening and if it does, provide resources to families and awareness to our communities. That’s why they came together for a kickoff event. To spread the message that April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and share how we can combat the high tendency rate.

During that kickoff event, several community members joined the Crisis Nursery, CASA and Children’s Advocacy Center in showing their support to end the abuse of children. From the reading of statistics to planting a pinwheel, so many were touched by the importance of this cause. Including Rachael Graham, Director of Development and Communications at the Crisis Nursery in Urbana.

“Each of us have a different mission and we focus on improving the lives of children and families in a different way. Crisis Nursery really works to prevent abuse from even happening but we know it does happen. So we need community partners there for kids that are or have experienced that trauma, that abuse. We’re lucky to have CASA and the Children’s Advocacy Center in our community.”

To get the community involved in bringing the number of abused children down, a few supportive ways were presented. For instance, the Crisis Nursery handed out car magnets that encourage the decrease of child abuse. CASA has pinwheels planted throughout the area and the Children’s Advocacy Center has blue kid signs as well.

But the effort to prevent child abuse and lessen those experiences isn’t just for the month of April. It takes a year-long commitment that volunteers, community members and leaders can spearhead themselves. One way is by remaining educated and aware. Rachael says as a result, kids will start to benefit from that work. Something she says you can witness for yourself at their site.

“You come and you visit the Nursery and you see the kiddos playing on the playground or creating art and you see their smiles and laughs. You know that people, adults, caring loving adults in the community want the best for the children in our communities, so it’s great to see.”

To learn more about the Crisis Nursery, click here.

For more on how you can support Child Abuse Prevention Month , click here.