Child Welfare League of America Launches 2002 National Children's Memorial Flag Day Activities

Child Welfare League of America
Friday, 12 April 2002

The Child Welfare League of America is launching its 2002 National Children's Memorial Flag Day Campaign in honor and recognition of the nearly three million children who are reported abused and neglected in this country each year, and the more than 1,000 who die from abuse and neglect. The National Center for Disease Control and Prevention report that the United States has the highest rate for childhood homicides and deaths under violent circumstances than in any industrialized nation. The Memorial flag, with its silhouette of a missing child in a row of children, has become a symbol of the scandal of violence against children. It continues to be embraced by expanding circles of concerned citizens, elected officials, and activists.

During its 2001 public awareness campaign, all 50 states and their governors participated in promoting the flag by displaying it, issuing a proclamation, or conducting a ceremony or event in April, which is Child Abuse Prevention Month. The flag was also promoted by numerous local, national, and international organizations, mayors, other elected officials, schools, and social service agencies. The participation of so many children's advocates amplifies awareness about the tragedy of child abuse and victimization, as well as its causes and prevention efforts.

Last year, under the leadership of Representative Shelley Berkley (NV-1) the U. S. House of Representatives voted unanimously to pass a bill declaring the last Friday in April as National Children's Memorial Flag Day. This year, that day falls on Friday, April 26, and CWLA is encouraging the flying of the flag in communities all across the nation.

Governors, mayors, and organizations are becoming involved in this effort at a record rate this year. In addition to flying or displaying the flag and issuing proclamations, many states are also planning events and ceremonies. Some states have instituted other unique observances: West Virginia is flying the flag in each of its 55 counties and have invited residents of every county to nominate community members to be recognized for their service to children. A separate contest will recognize a child protective service worker in each county. Students in the state have also been encouraged to write essays on "What Makes Me Feel Safe" and to submit artwork illustrating their feelings. Other organizations are marking Child Abuse Prevention month by holding events such as a day-long candle lighting on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. sponsored by the National Court Appointed Special Advocates Association. Almost 9,000 candles representing the number of children reported abused and neglected each day were lit spelling out the word "HOPE."

According to CWLA President & CEO Bilchik, "Americans across all walks of life should commit themselves to solving the problem of abuse and neglect - to standing up on behalf of these child victims. We must realize that abuse and neglect are not isolated issues, and that they require the same level of awareness and commitment to prevention the nation demonstrated in reducing juvenile crime."

The Child Welfare League of America is the nation's oldest and largest membership-based child welfare organization. It is committed to engaging people everywhere in promoting the well-being of children, youth, and their families, and protecting every child from harm.

For more information about the Children's Memorial Flag and child abuse prevention, visit the Child Welfare League of America on the web at http://www.cwla.org/advocacy/memorialflag.htm

For more information, or to contact Child Welfare League of America, see their website at: www.cwla.org

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