Children in bad home conditions may be in dire situations as schools stay closed

BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – While April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, many kids may be in abusive situations now that they are stuck at home most of the time.

Typically, the city of Beckley at this time of year invites students and police officers to plant pinwheels to bring awareness to child advocacy. Unfortunately, that event was canceled due to the pandemic.

Scott Miller, the Executive Director of Just For Kids, Inc. Child Advocacy Center in Raleigh County spoke with us about the meaning of the event.

“We typically invite head start students to come and state troopers and the head start students with the help of the state troopers plant these pinwheels. It’s a great way to introduce law enforcement to young children in a positive way,” Miller said.

Miller also mentioned that due to the cancellation of in-person classes at schools, children may now be in harmful situations because they are stuck at home most of the time. Kids who thought of school as a safe space away from abuse may now be in a worse situation.

“Children are at home, they are more isolated than ever before. We do know that lots of children see schools as a safe space.”

During this time, it’s important for the community to keep a lookout for child abuse, as it will be much more difficult for teachers or other important people in a child’s life to see signs of abuse. Miller encourages people to speak up if they see something. 

“You don’t have to see abuse to report it. If you suspect or are suspicious, let Child Protective Services do their job and investigate.”

While the in-person events revolving around child advocacy and abuse prevention have been canceled or delayed, the city is still proud to show their support for kids during this trying time. Blue pinwheels symbolizing the support for kids in need can be seen outside the office of the mayor.