LANSING, Mich. – A garden of blue and silver pinwheels adorned the State Capitol today, April 19, 2016, as a symbol of Michigan’s commitment to prevent child abuse and neglect.

With the theme “The Power of One,” the rally, attended by about 200 people, called together the prevention community to draw attention to the 34,697 children who were confirmed victims of abuse or neglect in Michigan in 2015. Gov. Rick Snyder has proclaimed April as Child Abuse Prevention Month.

“Through the strength of one action, one dollar, one person, one organization and, yes, one rally, we can make a positive difference in preventing child abuse and neglect in Michigan,” said Michael Foley, executive director of the Children’s Trust Fund, a nonprofit within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services that organizes this annual event.

Nationally, the total cost of child abuse and neglect is about $124 billion per year, or about $1,400 for each American family. Other event speakers included MDHHS Director Nick Lyon; Dr. Dena Nazer, pediatric physician at the Detroit Medical Center; Children’s Trust Fund Board Chairperson Lori Wortz; and Dr. Stanley Chase, director of the Child Abuse Prevention Services Department and National Exchange Club regional officer.

“The safety of Michigan’s vulnerable children is one of my priorities,” Lyon said. “We are proud to be involved with this Prevention Awareness Day event which brings attention to our belief and resolve that all of our children have the right to grow up in safe and nurturing environments so that they can achieve their full potential as adults.”

Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, of Ottawa County, said: “By supporting the Children’s Trust Fund and the important prevention work they do, we’re helping strengthen Michigan children and families so that they can be free from abuse and neglect. When children live without fear, they can be happy and feel secure. As a parent and legislator I know that thriving childhoods are fundamental to a vibrant and prosperous society.”

Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, of Flint, said: “Abuse and neglect are threats no child should ever have to face. We have a responsibility to stand up for Michigan’s kids and supporting the Children’s Trust Fund will help keep our young people healthy and safe.”

Event sponsors included Grand Traverse Pie Company, the Lansing Area Exchange Club, and Initiating Communities Helping Area Neighborhoods Gain Empowerment (ICHANGE), Lansing Community College, Cottage Inn Pizza, Absopure Water and Stan Setas Produce.

The Children’s Trust Fund was established by the Michigan Legislature in 1982 through Public Act 249 of 1982 and Public Act 250 of 1982. It serves as a voice for Michigan’s children and families and promotes their health, safety and welfare by funding effective local programs and services that prevent child abuse and neglect.

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