Hot Springs, Arkansas (April 22, 2013) – There was no shortage of wind as a gaggle of pinwheels spun round and round on the front lawn of the Cooper-Anthony Mercy Child Advocacy Center at Mercy Hospital Hot Springs.
In all, 208 pinwheels were placed on the lawn, each representing a true finding of child abuse last year in Garland County. The pinwheels were placed as part of an annual Child Abuse Awareness Rally which was attended by Mercy Hospital Hot Springs staff and representatives from nearly all of Garland County’s agencies dealing with child abuse cases. Last year, 177 pinwheels were placed during the event.
“We have 208 true findings of child abuse in Garland County. For each child we’re going to place a pinwheel in the ground, said Janice McCutcheon, director of the Cooper-Anthony Mercy Child Advocacy Center, the state’s first hospital-based facility for child abuse and neglect. “And we all know there are many more, unfortunately.”
Cooper-Anthony Mercy Child Advocacy Center at Mercy Hospital Hot Springs is an Accredited Member of the National Children’s Alliance. It was founded by St. Joseph’s Mercy in 2003 after it was learned that Garland County was part of one of Arkansas’ top three judicial districts in the filing of child maltreatment reports. The center is dedicated to providing comprehensive, coordinated and compassionate services to victims of child abuse.
Other speakers included Hot Springs Major Ruth Carney, Garland County Circuit Court Judge Vicky Cook, Garland County Multi-Disciplinary Team Coordinator Annette Humphreys and Chris Newlin, the executive director of the national Children’s Advocacy Center in Huntsville, Ala.
Mayor Carney proclaimed April 2013 as Child Abuse Prevention Month in Hot Springs.
Newlin talked about the role of Child Advocacy Centers around the world.
“This model, which started here in the United States, is now becoming an international model. We’re making progress in the fight against child abuse. Rates by all indications are going down. We’re improving outcomes for kids. And a lot of that is due to the hard work of the professionals you saw come up here,” Newlin said. “Janice [McCutcheon], thanks for all you do. You’re a shining star in the CAC world – you and your staff. I know people that visit here have always been super impressed.”
After a song from the Malvern Elementary School Choir, each of the students grabbed a pinwheel and led a procession to front lawn. Before long, 208 pinwheels spun as a reminder.
Since 1888, Mercy in Hot Springs has served the healthcare needs of Hot Springs and surrounding communities. Mercy Hospital Hot Springs is a 282 bed full-service hospital accredited by The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, providing an emergency department with a Level 2 Trauma Center designation and a comprehensive range of medical services.