June 2015


Pinwheels for Prevention

Pinwheels for Prevention is a national campaign to change the way we think about preventing child abuse.  While recognizing and reporting child abuse are certainly important, research shows there are a variety of things individuals, businesses and organizations can do to prevent abuse before it ever begins.

Increasing parental knowledge of healthy child development, reducing family isolation and ensuring community supports like home visiting, mental health services, substance abuse treatment, affordable housing and high-quality child care are available to families are just a few ways we can reduce the risk of abuse and help ensure all children have the opportunity to grow and develop to their full potential.  There are countless ways each of us, as individuals, can build a brighter future for children; for example, volunteering as a mentor, cooking a meal or babysitting for a neighbor, or helping out at the homeless shelter or local literacy program. 


In Florida, Pinwheels for Prevention draws attention to and encourages involvement in activities that support healthy child development through public service announcements, distribution of family development and advocacy guides, and coordination of community events that include the creation of public pinwheel displays.  While the bulk of our public awareness activities occur during April to coincide with National Child Abuse Prevention Month, Pinwheels for Prevention is a year-round campaign that strives to ensure services for children and families remain a priority all year long.

Planting Pinwheels

Florida's Pinwheels for Prevention campaign is implemented by PCA Florida and a wide range of state-and community-level partners who share the belief that all families deserve to live in supportive communities that provide safe and healthy experiences for their children. This year, we were encouraged to see so many state agencies and community partners embracing Pinwheels for Prevention and recognizing their roles in strengthening families and preventing child abuse before it

General Federation of Women's Clubs

ever begins. The public pinwheel planting ceremonies and press conferences hosted by the Florida departments of Education, Health, Management Services, Agriculture, Corrections, and Economic Opportunity, as well as the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, Guardian ad Litem and General Federation of Women's Clubs were a testament to our changing perspective on prevention - from one that places blame and prescribes punishment, to one that acknowledges our shared responsibility and seeks to support families and care for children to ensure health and prosperity for all.

Florida's Pinwheels for Prevention Campaign is funded primarily through the Florida Department of Children and Families; but, since pinwheels cannot be purchased with state funds, PCA Florida collects private donations and coordinates bulk purchases to minimize costs to partnering organizations. Despite a dockworker strike on the West Coast that caused significant, unexpected delays in the delivery of pinwheels to Florida this spring, PCA Florida was still able to distribute 50,000 pinwheels to partners throughout the state who organized more than 96 Pinwheels for Prevention events.  From Children's Week at the Capitol, to the Family Fun Fair in Lakeland, to the Human Trafficking Training in Key West, these events each addressed the need to not only increase awareness, but also encourage actions that provide concrete support to children and families. 

Other highlights from this year's campaign have included the unveiling of new organizational and campaign logos and a new statewide awareness event. Prevent Child Abuse America and each of their 50 state chapters unveiled new organization and campaign logos. The pinwheel is the national symbol for child abuse prevention and a whimsical reminder that all children deserve to live in nurturing environments that provide opportunities for healthy development. Our new chapter logo, which features the pinwheel, visually connects our work to the national Pinwheels for Prevention campaign; and, the new campaign logo visually connects all community campaign activities to our chapter.

Wear Blue Day with First Lady Ann Scott

PCA Florida also hosted the inaugural Wear Blue Day at the Capitol event and established an online photo contest to promote participation in Wear Blue Day throughout Florida. Wear Blue Day is an easy way for people everywhere to participate in raising awareness and promoting investments in effective child abuse prevention programs. First Lady Ann Scott and several state agency heads participated in Wear Blue Day at the Capitol and dozens of individuals and organizations shared their Wear Blue Day photos on PCA Florida's Facebook page to enter the online photo contest. With 141 "Likes", the photo submitted by Manatee County Sheriff's Office Child Protection Unit won the contest and received a gift basket containing  1 box of pinwheels, 10 pinwheel lapel pins, 3 blue awareness bears and 10 blue wrist bands from PCA Florida.


Focusing on prevention is better for children and far less costly to society than treating the consequences of abuse only after significant damage has been done.  PCA Florida encourages everyone to find ways each day to support family stability and healthy child development, because strong families and healthy children lay the foundation for safe and prosperous communities for all. 

 Find out more at: https://www.ounce.org/PreventionServices.asp 


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To schedule an initial or refresher facilitator training contact Jean Gibson at jgibson@ounce.org or 

850-921-4494, ext. 202 


PCA America Video


We are happy to share Prevent Child Abuse America's new video with you.





How do I Know my Child is Ready to be Left Home Alone?

It can be difficult navigating all the decisions a parent must make as their child continues to grow and mature. One of the hardest choices for many parents is deciding when your child is ready to be left home alone. While there is no law in the State of Florida that sets a minimum age, the National SAFE KIDS Campaign recommends that children not be left alone before the age of 12.

It is important to consider your child's maturity level and consistency demonstrating responsible behavior when making this decision. You may also want to sit down with him or her and discuss how comfortable they are being left alone, and for how long. Additionally, it is essential to note that just because they may feel comfortable on their own, they may not be ready to look after a younger sibling for another few years.

If you have come to the conclusion that your child is ready, have the following readily available:

  • your and any other guardians contact numbers
  • the contact numbers of trusted neighbors
  • a first-aid kit and the knowledge of how to use it
  • clear expectations of rules and responsibilities while you are away
  • your home address in case they need to notify an emergency responder of their location

A child being left home alone is a big step for both parent and child. By communicating openly and setting up safety measures, everyone can feel better prepared for the next phase of growing up!



SOCIAL MEDIA - And more...

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Introducing SOCIAL MEDIA - And more! SOCIAL MEDIA - And More will be a reccurring segment in our newsletters to give parents and caregivers new tools and ideas to better understand and manage their children's social media experience.


As you know, social media has become a huge part of children's and adolescent's lives. It is imperative that we remain informed about what they are being exposed to; so, for our opening segment we will share some resources to get you started:


GetNetWise.org - Run by the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Internet Education Foundation, GetNetWise is one of the Web's most comprehensive collections of information about children's Internet safety and family computer security.


IKeepSafe - Their mission is to give parents, educators, and policymakers the information and tools which empower them to teach children the safe and healthy use of technology and the Internet.


Family Online Safety Institute - FOSI is an international non-profit organization that facilitates the meeting of leaders in technology and policy in order to find innovative solutions for children's online safety. This is a particular favorite of ours, as it enables you to narrow down your search based on age group, or category.


Social media evolves faster than most of us can keep up with it. There is always a new app, or a change in security policy that we as parents and caregivers should know about. It is important to keep these educational resources at our fingertips, and hopefully, this new segment will help you along the way!


Tips on Choosing a Summer Camp for Your Child

Summer camp can be one of the most exciting experiences you can provide your child during their summer break from school. But, for a parent, choosing the right camp for your child can prove to be challenging and even downright stressful!


There are various options available for your child: Day camp or sleep away? How will it work with my family's schedule? Does it fit within our budget...and the list goes on!

To help with the process, here are a few suggestions you might want to try:

 Sit down with your child and discuss what they would like out of their camp experience. What activities would they enjoy? Would they like to learn new skills? Would they enjoy exploring a new places or stay where they are more comfortable? Be aware that their preferences may change from year to year as they mature.


Next, create your own list of questions to present to the camp administrators. To help you get started, here is a list of some basic questions:

  • What are the camp's goals and philosophy?
  • What kind of camper is most likely to have a good experience at this camp?
  • What is their camper return rate?
  • What is the camper-counselor ratio?
  • What are the credentials and characteristics you require of your staff?
  • What is your refund policy should your child exit the program early?
  • Is there a background screening process for all employees?

Some children thrive better in an environment that offers plenty of structure and an "action packed" daily schedule; while others may enjoy more free time, allowing for more creative play and socializing. Most every child looks forward to the summer months and the opportunity to attend some form of summer camp.  Taking time to choose the right fit for your child can help guarantee a successful and memorable.



Preventing Child Heatstroke Deaths

Heatstroke tragedies are 100 percent preventable. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) urges parents and caregivers to take the following precautions to prevent heatstroke incidents from occurring:

  • Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle - even if the windows are partially open or the engine is running and the air conditioning is on;
  • Make a habit of looking in the vehicle - front and back - before locking the door and walking away;
  • Ask the childcare provider to call if the child doesn't show up for care as expected;
  • Do things that serve as a reminder that a child is in the vehicle, such as placing a purse or briefcase in the back seat to ensure no child is accidentally left in the vehicle, or writing a note or using a stuffed animal placed in the driver's view to indicate a child is in the car seat;
  • Teach children that a vehicle is not a play area and store keys out of a child's reach.

In addition, NHTSA urges community members who see a child alone in a hot vehicle to immediately call 911 or the local emergency number. A child in distress due to heat should be removed from the vehicle as quickly as possible and rapidly cooled.



Upcoming Events/Conferences

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 Florida Coalition for Children Foundation 2015 Annual Conference

The conference will be held at the Omni Orlando Resort at Champions Gate in Orlando, Florida, June 29 - July 1, 2015.  


If you haven't registered for the FCCF 2015 Annual Conference please do so today by visiting the conference website!



2015 Dependency Summit by the Florida Department of Children and Families

The summit will be held on September 9 - 11, 2015, at the JW Marriott Grand Lakes, 4040 Central Florida Parkway, Orlando, FL  32837