Child abuse prevention pinwheels placed in Waukesha

A group in Waukesha is challenging people to help prevent child abuse. Saturday, they worked to show how child abuse impacts all parts of the community.

Blue pinwheels were carefully places, because each one represents a child.

"Even one pinwheel is one pinwheel too many," said Larry Nelson, chair of Waukesha County's Heath and Human Services board.

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The Guardians of the Children Hawg City Chapter placed 115 pinwheels outside the Waukesha County HHS building Saturday – representing the 115 children in the county who were abused or neglected in 2021.

"It’s a great physical representation for the community to see what’s happening out in Waukesha County. That child abuse can happen anywhere," said Eric Calvino, Child and Family Division coordinator.

Guardians of the Children Hawg City Chapter placed 115 pinwheels outside the Waukesha County HHS building to raise awareness for child abuse prevention

It only includes children the county knows about. Reports of child abuse declined during the COVID-19 pandemic while kids were at home. Even with kids now back in school, Waukesha County officials said reports have not reached pre-pandemic levels.

"We have no reason to believe instances of child abuse and neglect have decreased, but those that are reported to Health and Human Services have over the past few years," Calvino said.

Guardians of the Children Hawg City Chapter placed 115 pinwheels outside the Waukesha County HHS building to raise awareness for child abuse prevention

The Guardians of the Children challenge the community to make the call if there is any suspicion of abuse. Knowing what to look for can be as simple as asking a question.

"I think it’s just talking to children, listening to them," said Calvino.

In Waukesha County, if you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, call 262-548-7212 or dial 211.

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