The Youth and Family Outreach Program of the Gallatin County Sheriff's Office is set to kick April off as National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Erin Clements, manager of the Youth and Family Outreach Program, says teaming up with Court Appointed Special Advocates for children, or CASA, is a great way to bring awareness to child abuse in Gallatin County.
“We want to make sure that everybody is thriving or has the opportunity to thrive in our community,” says Clements.
Anyone can donate or just pick up pinwheels or signs to represent the children CASA has served at several places around Gallatin County such as the Bozeman Law and Justice Center, Big Sky base, and the Belgrade Police Station.
“People didn't really understand what these were, so that was the purpose of the signs. Creating the signs, to have the pinwheel on here, to make sure that everybody knows that the pinwheels are a sign of prevention,” says Clements.
Gallatin County Sheriff Dan Springer says GCSO is hard at work trying to prevent the abuse of children.
“As the Sheriff's Office, we have a responsibility to not only investigate the crimes after the commission, we also have a responsibility to try and stop this from occurring,” says Sheriff Springer.
Law enforcement throughout Gallatin County responded to approximately 366 reports of suspected child abuse in 2022. Sheriff Springer says the Sheriff's Office is always looking at different options to better protect the children of Gallatin County that have fallen victim to abuse.
“How do we locate these kids? How do we locate kids that are in need and possibly in abusive situations and try to prevent further abuse, try to get them into mental health care,” says Sheriff Springer.
The funds raised by these signs and pinwheels will be used to bring more programs related to child safety and well-being, such as suicide prevention, access to mental health, and sexual abuse prevention. The planting of the pinwheels throughout the county will take place on April 4.