April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and The Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse (CPCA) is calling on our community to “be a hero for kids” by learning about abuse prevention and getting involved in several local events.

To officially mark the start of Child Abuse Prevention Month, The CPCA held a live press conference on April 9 featuring Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, Dutchess County Undersheriff Kirk Imperati, Dutchess County District Attorney William Grady, City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison, Town of Poughkeepsie Supervisor Jay Baisley, and other local officials. The press conference announced two initiatives in its mission to end child abuse and included a display of pinwheels symbolizing the 532 children that came to the Child Advocacy Center in 2020.

Their first initiative Project Protect 2021 aims to educate 2,021 people in 2021 to learn the warning signs of child abuse. The CPCA will host a live training this month via facebook.com/thecpca.poughkeepsie on April 13. To support the initiative, Tabitha Canning of Tabitha’s Project Smile has donated $21 from her own piggy bank and has asked the community to match her donation.

In addition, The CPCA has partnered with over 25 restaurants throughout the Hudson Valley to host Restaurant Week for Child Abuse Prevention.  Beginning Monday April 12 and ending Sunday, April 18, anyone dining out at a participating local restaurant will generate a donation to The Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse. There are currently over 25 restaurants signed on to donate back a portion of their sales. For a full list, visit thecpca.org/event/cpca-restaurant-week/.

Statistically, more than 1,000 cases of child abuse are reported every year in Dutchess County and an estimated five times as many go unreported. During times of crisis like a global pandemic, studies show that rates of abuse are higher, and the unique impact presented by COVID-19 has left many children in isolation, often with their abusers and without a place to turn to. Now that schools are transitioning back to in-school learning, The CPCA anticipates an influx of cases.

“This is the perfect opportunity for our community to join us and become a hero for kids,” said Kimberly Haight, executive director of The Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse. “The impact of last year has left children across our county and nation vulnerable to abuse, however, we can all play a part in protecting children. Whether it is receiving training to learn warning signs, supporting our mission, or just simply believing a child when they share their story, children are relying on us to keep them healthy and safe.”

“The Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse has been a strong ally in Dutchess County’s mission to protect our youngest and most vulnerable residents.” Said Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro. “As we bring attention to this critical responsibility during National Child Abuse Prevention Month, I encourage all residents to learn the warning signs of child abuse and strengthen families countywide. Only through our shared commitment will every child be safe and supported.”

The events planned for Child Abuse Prevention Month are generously sponsored by Flory’s Convenience & Deli, Q92, an iHeartMedia station, Nuvance Health, Hudson Valley Office Furniture, Marshall & Sterling Insurance and A&R Security. For more information and ways to spread awareness in April, visit thecpca.org/event/preventionmonth/

About the Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse The Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse is a private non-profit that has been dedicated to the reduction of child maltreatment since 1973. Each year, it serves approximately 20,000 children and provides support and education services to more than 3,000 adults. They are the only agency in Dutchess County providing sexual abuse prevention training. Support services help abused children—and educate adults to prevent future abuse.


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