Pinwheel gardens raise awareness for Child Abuse Prevention month

Children’s Connection covers Norwalk, New Canaan, Wilton, Weston and Westport, working with investigators, prosecutors, medical professionals and mental health professionals.

Marissa Alter

Apr 25, 2024, 10:01 PM

Updated 32 days ago

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Colorful pinwheels have popped up in front of several police departments in Fairfield County, but they’re not just for display. There’s a message behind the simple children’s toy.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, so every year Kari Pesavento, the director of Children’s Connection at the Human Services Counsel, makes the rounds to the five police departments she works with to plant pinwheel gardens.
Pinwheels are the national symbol for child abuse prevention.
“We plant pinwheel gardens and have all of our law enforcement officers come out and just take a minute to take a stand against child abuse and say it shouldn't hurt to be a kid,” Pesavento said. “Children's Connection is a nationally accredited children's advocacy center, so we are part of a national network and a statewide network of child advocacy centers that work to decrease the incidents and the impact of child abuse investigations on child victims.”
Children’s Connection covers Norwalk, New Canaan, Wilton, Weston and Westport, working with investigators, prosecutors, medical professionals and mental health professionals.
“As soon as a child makes a disclosure, and DCF or the police are notified of that, they immediately call us, and we conduct a forensic interview. We do case coordination. We get services in place—treatment, medical and mental health services, and then we work together to make sure the investigation is as easy on the family as possible,” Pesavento told News 12.
On Thursday, Pesavento and other Children’s Connection staff were met by officers, and sometimes other town officials, at each stop. Another partner in their mission also joined in, the nonprofit Help for Kids, which supports families in the prevention of child abuse by providing educational and support services.
“This is something that we are constantly battling and helping educate people about,” stated Joe Dudek, executive director of Help for Kids. “The more that we can be visible, and people can be aware of the services available, the better our community will be.”
“Child abuse is an issue that does not discriminate based on socio-economic status or where you live or what you do. Child abuse unfortunately affects everyone,” Pesavento added.
Children's Connection reported responding to 186 abuse cases in 2023. The agency said it also educated 250 people about child abuse. For information on Children’s Connection, click here.


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