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Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center is there for the kids …April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

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.

Julie Porterfield, ECCAC CEO said, “Please join our initiative to paint the town blue! For the month of April our Centers are selling a yard sign and t-shirt for $30 for the set. It will help to raise child abuse awareness by placing the sign in your yard, window, home, or business, and wearing the t-shirt as a signal of hope for the kids in our community. There is no excuse for child abuse.”

Order on-line at, or email

“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 does  
their part to help protect children. Prevention is the best 
protection against child abuse.”
                                             Julie Porterfield
                                             ECCAC CEO


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