Help Strengthen Families

Contributed by Noel Purdy
This month and throughout the year, individuals and organizations are encouraged to play a role in making Franklin County a better place for children and families.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month
National Child Abuse Prevention Month recognizes the importance of families and communities working together to strengthen families to prevent child abuse and neglect. Through this collaboration, prevention services and supports help protect children and produce thriving families.
By ensuring that parents have the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to care for their children, we can help promote the social and emotional well-being of children and youth and prevent child maltreatment within families and communities.
Protective factors are the strengths and resources families draw on during difficult times to shield them from life's stresses. Research shows that when parents possess protective factors, the risk for neglect and abuse diminish and optimal outcomes for children, youth, and families are promoted. Major protective factors include knowledge of parenting, knowledge of child development, parental resilience, social connections, and concrete support.
To learn more about prevention resources and how you can help strengthen families visit this website.
Local National Child Abuse Awareness Month Activities During April
Pinwheels for Prevention: Why pinwheels? The pinwheel stands for the carefree childhood we want for all children and is a call to neighbors, community members, and leaders to play a role in protecting and nurturing our youngest citizens. Help us raise awareness this year by planting your own pinwheel garden! Purchase and display a pinwheel garden (10 pinwheels plus a yard sign) at your place of business or home during April. Orders can be placed with Over the Rainbow Children’s Advocacy Center and picked up on March 28th or 29th. Contact Rebecca Voss at bvoss@overtherainbowcac.org for more information.
Blue & Teal Ribbons: In partnership with Women in Need, Over the Rainbow Children’s Advocacy Center will be hanging blue and teal ribbons in downtown Chambersburg and Waynesboro during the month of April. The blue ribbon honors children who have been affected by abuse and neglect and symbolizes the need for child abuse prevention. The teal ribbons raise awareness for those who have been affected by sexual assault and signifies the need for awareness and prevention (April is also Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month).
Wear Blue: Encourage your staff and employees to wear blue to demonstrate support for child abuse awareness and prevention on April 1st. Designate one day or the entire week by wearing blue.
Darkness to Light Trainings: Attend an evidence-informed prevention training (FREE) to help adults prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child abuse on April 20th 6:00-8:30pm and April 23rd 10:00-12:30pm at YMCA. Register by contacting Jessica Crouse with Over the Rainbow Children's Advocacy Center at jcrouse@overtherainbowcac.org
Child Abuse Awareness Month Proclamation: The public is invited to attend the Franklin County Commissioners meeting on April 6th at 11:00am.
April is Month of the Young Child
First established by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) in 1971, the Week of the Young Child is an opportunity to focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families and to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs.
Over the years, with growing interest and focus, the entire month of April was designated the Month of the Young Child (MOYC). MOYC is a time to plan how we will better meet the needs of all young children, families, caregivers, and early care and education professionals. To find resources for and ideas about how to celebrate Month of the Young child, visit this website.
Local Activities During April
Week of the Young Child Family Activities: Week of the Young Child - April 2-8, 2022 (April is also month of the young child in Franklin County, as declared by FC Commissioners). The purpose of the Week of the Young Child is to focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families and to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs. Keep an eye on First Start Partnerships, Franklin County Library System, and United Way of Franklin County for local happenings.
The Big Umbrella: Author Read Aloud Event & Storywalk: The Franklin County Library System will be hosting an event (FREE) on Saturday, April 2nd at 10:00 am at Greene Township Park to kick off Month of the Young Child.  The event will include a read aloud and art activities with the author, Amy June Bates, of The Big Umbrella, as well as a Story Walk.  The Story Walk will be available at Greene Township Park throughout the month of April. Contract Sarah Applegate with Franklin County Library System for more information at sapplegate@fclspa.org
Thank You Early Childhood Educators Social Media/Yard Sign Campaign: Local organizations and child care centers will be displaying yard signs and social media messages(#thanksECeducators) throughout the month of April that thank early childhood educators. If you’d like a yard sign, contact Amy Pinkerton with First Start Partnerships at apinkerton@firststartpartnerships.org
Littlest Learner Kits: First Start Partnerships will be distributing Littlest Learner Kits that include ways to support baby’s brain development and parent resources to families who are expecting or have newborns and infants.  
Read, Play, Sing: Wellspan, First Start Partnerships and Over the Rainbow will be collaborating to provide resources to families in our community to use simple actions: reading, playing and singing to strengthen families and prevent child abuse. This campaign will launch on the First Start Partnerships website in April. 
Early Learning PA Update: (April 5 at 8am via Zoom (FREE) - REGISTER) With the governor’s recent budget proposal, policymakers are deliberating major investments to early care and education. Join us to hear about the latest developments and the work ahead for all of our Early Learning PA Campaigns: Pre-K for PA, Start Strong PA, Childhood Begins At Home, and Thriving PA. 5.
ALICE in Focus: Children Launch Event – April 7 from 4-5pm via Zoom (FREE) – REGISTER In partnership with local organizations like United Way of Franklin County, United For ALICE’s new research series ALICE in Focus makes its debut Monday, April 4 – beginning with a spotlight on ALICE children. Research briefs and interactive online dashboards will offer a more complete view of financial hardship among children. With this wealth of information, how can you obtain the most relevant data for your field – and what are some ways you might use that data to create meaningful change. Join the launch event on April 7 to discover key research findings, learn how to navigate the new dashboards, and gain insights into how to apply the data.
Parent Cafe: First Start Partnerships will be holding a virtual Parent Cafe (FREE) event on Tuesday April 12th from 4:30-6:30 pm via zoom with the theme of Sharing Our Umbrella. Parent Cafés are emotionally safe spaces where parents and caregivers talk about the challenges and victories of raising a family. These events are open to all adult family members in our community. Through individual self-reflection and peer-to-peer learning, participants explore their strengths, learn about the Protective Factors, and create strategies from their own wisdom and experiences to help strengthen their families. Participants leave Parent Cafés feeling inspired, energized, and excited to put into practice what they’ve learned. Contact nnicholson@firststartpartnerships.org to learn more.
Month of the Young Child Proclamation: The public is invited to attend the Franklin County Commissioners meeting on April 13th at 2:00 pm.
Franklin County Early Childhood Consortium Meeting #2: On April 28 from 2-4pm via Zoom (FREE) - REGISTER. Hear the results of Phase One of the Franklin County Early Childhood Comprehensive Plan, which conducted surveys and interviews from a variety of stakeholders to conduct a needs assessment of childcare related topics in Franklin County. 
Healthy Kids Day: On April 30 from 9-11am at the Chambersburg YMCA (FREE). Free and open to the public, join the Y for a day of healthy, fun activities that celebrate kids being kids! Learn more at ymca.org/hkd.