2013 Miss America Bringing Child Abuse Awareness Message To LaGrange

April is a time for action according to Prevent Child Abuse Georgia, an organization whose sole mission is to prevent the abuse and neglect of our state’s children. A local collaboration of child welfare agencies plans to use the month of April to increase awareness of child abuse prevention and what the LaGrange community can do to promote the healthy and happy childhoods all children deserve.

“Child Abuse Prevention Month is a time when people are already thinking about children, so it’s the perfect opportunity for each of us to reflect and act upon the ways we can help children, families and our communities thrive,” said Sheri Cody, Executive Director of Twin Cedars Youth & Family Services. “We all have a role to play, so our goal this April is to help others recognize that role and the ways in which we can maximize our impact.”

The need to act on behalf of children could not be more urgent. According to statistics from UNICEF, the U.S. ranks poorly in children’s issues, including 32nd out of 34 countries in terms of child poverty and 26th out of 29 in terms of overall wellbeing.

“This is unacceptable,” said Cody. “Together, we can change that.”

In LaGrange, local agencies such as Twin Cedars Youth & Family Services, Inc., the Troup County Division of Family & Children Services, the Troup Family Connection Authority, along with the La- Grange Police Department and the Troup County Sheriff’s Department will be working together to raise child abuse awareness during the month of April in several ways. First, as a visual reminder, the LaGrange town square, the Division of Family & Children Services lawn, and the campus of the Twin Cedars Coleman Community Center will be decorated with Child Abuse Prevention banners, blue ribbons and pinwheels, the national symbol which serves as a reminder of the great childhoods we want for all children. On the Twin Cedars website during the month of April, visitors will find five practical things that each LaGrange community member can do to help prevent child abuse in our town.

The community is invited to two Child Abuse Prevention events during April. First, on April 10th, 2018, at 9AM at the Twin Cedars Coleman Community Center, a Prevent Now Event will be held. This program will include a powerful presentation highlighting the issue of child sexual abuse, the economic cost to Troup County, the emotional impact, and the community’s resolve to stop it.

Next, on April 18, 2018, at 10AM at the Twin Cedars Coleman Community Center, the collaboration of local agencies will hold a Child Abuse Awareness Ceremony and Reception, where stakeholders in our community come together to revise our local Child Abuse Protocol, keeping all agencies on the same page as they work together to help the children of our community. Headlining this event will be keynote speaker, 2013 Miss America Mallory Hagan. Ms. Hagan won the Miss America competition on a platform of child sexual abuse awareness and prevention, a topic that has personal importance for her.

One practical way that each person within the Troup County community can take action to raise awareness of Child Abuse during the month of April is to post your own awareness messages on social media, then apply the hashtag #troupkidsmatter.

“We’re grateful to the sponsors and partners who are helping Prevent Child Abuse Georgia engage people in taking action in support of children and families in Georgia,” said Jim Hmurovich, President & CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America. “When communities come together to support children and families, we as a nation benefit. Events like the ones being conducted throughout Georgia will serve as a reminder of the children on whose behalf we are acting in Georgia and across the country.”

Each day in LaGrange, our local child welfare agencies operate a variety of programs that provide care, protection, healing and preparation for a bright future to the children of Troup County. To learn more about these events, or how you can get involved in child abuse prevention efforts through Twin Cedars, please visit www.twincedars.org or email Kim Adams at kadams@twincedars.org.