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 The New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), along with Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Prevent Child Abuse New York (PCANY) Executive Director Tim Hathaway and local elected and social services officials joined on the West Capitol steps to discuss efforts to report and prevent child abuse in New York State in the hope that child abuse prevention will result in a better New York for all. The event observed April as Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month in New York State, as proclaimed by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and National Child Abuse Prevention Month.                                                     

“There is no more precious resource in New York State than our children,” said Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul. “They are our future, our hope and our leaders of tomorrow. It is incumbent upon each of us to protect and nurture these children so they achieve their full potential and ensure a bright tomorrow for all of New York.”

Participants received pinwheels, the national symbol of child abuse prevention. The pinwheels serve as a colorful visual reminder of the carefree and worry-free life that all children deserve. It reminds all to be ever vigilant in recognizing and preventing child abuse, so that the children of New York have happy futures full of hope.The negative effects of child abuse can last a lifetime. Survivors often experience mental, physical and behavioral health problems, depression, difficulty maintaining healthy relationships and attachments, problems maintaining employment and other issues. Preventing child abuse not only makes a tremendous difference to these individuals, but to our state as a whole.

“New York is a leader in child abuse prevention efforts,” said OCFS acting Commissioner Sheila J. Poole. “In New York State, there are 16 professions that are mandated to report child abuse to the New York Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment, including medical and hospital personnel, school teachers and officials, day care workers and law enforcement, among others. We train 135,000 professionals who work with children each year to recognize the sometimes subtle signs of abuse and report them.”

The New York Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment (SCR), or child abuse hotline, accepts calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Last year, it took more than 155,000 thousand reports of abuse or neglect that resulted in investigations. The SCR also screened 275,000 individuals in 2015 who were seeking employment in the field of child care or caring for vulnerable adults. Those screenings check for child abuse histories and block those individuals from employment in child care.

OCFS partners with local social services and voluntary agencies statewide in its efforts to prevent and investigate child abuse, including PCANY, whose statewide reach is vital in this important effort.

“Communities statewide have pledged to support prevention efforts, with all 62 of New York’s counties signing on for the Pinwheels for Prevention campaign,” said PCANY Executive Director Tim Hathaway. “One simple thing all of us can do to prevent maltreatment is to reduce social isolation, which is a major factor leading to child maltreatment. A kind word, a helping hand, reaching out to an overwhelmed parent to just spend time or give a supportive smile can make a tremendous difference in prevention.”

The pinwheels from the event are planted in a “Pinwheel Garden” at the OCFS Home Office at the corner of Third Avenue and Washington Street in Rensselaer as a visual reminder that all children deserve a carefree and happy life free from abuse or maltreatment.

About OCFS
OCFS serves New York by promoting the safety, permanency and well-being of children, families, and communities. OCFS maintains an active social media presence. “Like” the 
New York State Office of Children and Family Services Facebook page and follow @NYSOCFS on Twitter in English or the Spanish-language Twitter account, @NYSOCFS Espanol.


PCANY is a non-profit organization founded in 1980 as the Federation on Child Abuse and Neglect. Its mission is to prevent child abuse in all its forms so all children may live in families that love, nurture and protect them. Learn more at Follow on Twitter  @PCA_NY.