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April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

“Every year we try to create awareness of April being National Child Abuse Prevention month and the services that ECCAC can offer to child victims.  It is imperative that everyone do their part to help protect children.  Prevention is the best protection against child abuse,” explained Julie Porterfield, Emerald Coast Children's Advocacy Center CEO
National abuse statistics are alarming. According to the National Children’s Alliance, the national association and accrediting body for Children’s Advocacy Centers, nearly 700,000 children are abused in the U.S. annually. Neglect is the most common form of maltreatment with 75% suffering from neglect, 17.2% from physical abuse, and 8.4% from sexual abuse. About 4 out of 5 abusers are the child victim’s parents.
With National Child Abuse Prevention Month in April, it brings to light the fact that many do not realize the peril our children can experience and have to deal with right here in Northwest Florida. There are approximately 1,100 cases of child sexual and physical abuse reported annually in Okaloosa and Walton Counties, an average of three a day. Despite those big numbers, nearly 2/3 of the actual needs to help child victims go unmet due to lack of reporting to authorities. It is estimated that for every one child ECCAC helps, there are two children out there who are not helped.
Enter the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center (ECCAC), a multi-disciplinary team with all support services and personnel under one roof. They provide services 24/7 in a child-friendly environment to abused and neglected children and their families. ECCAC is one organization with two locations. The Children’s Advocacy Center in Niceville serves Okaloosa County and the Pierce Family Children’s Advocacy Center in DeFuniak Springs serves Walton County.
Nautica Caswell, ECCAC’s Community Outreach Manager said, “Join our initiative to paint the town blue! For the month of April, our Centers are selling signs and blue lightbulbs to raise child abuse awareness. Proudly place the sign in your yard, window, home, or business; replace your front porch light or other fixture as a signal of hope for the kids in our community. Show your friends, colleagues, and neighbors that there is no excuse for child abuse.”
Blue is the color for Child Abuse Prevention Month and you can help us spread the word. For a donation of $20, purchase a yard sign along with a blue light bulb.
Order on-line at, or contact Nautica Caswell, Community Outreach Program Manager at 850-833-9237, Ext. 267, or email her at

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