HARRISBURG, Pa., March 30, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — During April you may see people wearing a looped blue ribbon or a blue ribbon pin in observance of Child Abuse Prevention Month, and you may wonder what the significance of the blue ribbon is. In fact, there is deep meaning behind what has become a nationally recognized symbol for child abuse prevention.

In the spring of 1989, a grandmother named Bonnie Finney took a stand against child abuse in Norfolk, Va. She tied a blue ribbon on the antenna of her minivan in remembrance of her late grandson and as a signal to her community that child abuse was a devastating social plague.

Her grandson, Michael Wayne “Bubba” Dickenson, and his siblings had lived in an at-risk, abusive home environment. Despite Finney’s efforts to intervene on behalf of her grandchildren, the boyfriend of the children’s mother murdered 3-year-old Bubba. His body was found, bound, beaten, and bruised, in a weighted toolbox at the bottom of a canal.

Finney said she was thinking about all the bruises she had seen on her grandchildren and decided to tie a blue ribbon on her van. She said she intended to never forget the battered, bruised bodies of her grandchildren and used the color blue as a reminder to fight for protection of children.

Finney’s personal campaign to raise public awareness was joined by a Norfolk parent assistance program and a local radio station. Soon, stores, businesses, schools, churches, civic organizations, and social service agencies were participating in the campaign and thousands of blue ribbons were displayed in the name of child abuse prevention. The spirit of her blue ribbon grew and inspired a statewide community-based effort to prevent child abuse in every town, every community and every city and county.

Since then, Bonnie Finney’s simple act of education and remembrance has inspired a nationwide movement and led states throughout the country to participate in the campaign by designating the month of April each year Child Abuse Prevention Month.

The nonprofit Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance (PFSA) is a leader in protecting Pennsylvania’s children against child abuse and will be at the forefront of observing Child Abuse Prevention Month in Pennsylvania in April.

You can show your support by wearing a blue ribbon. You can make your own or you can order blue ribbon pins, bookmarks, and magnets online from PFSA. Go to https://www.pa-fsa.org/order_materials.aspx and click on “Awareness Resources.”

PFSA works through schools, early childhood education centers, religious institutions, and social service agencies to teach “mandated reporters” to recognize the signs of child abuse and neglect and how to appropriately report such cases. Mandated reporters are professionals who frequently come into contact with children in the course of performing their jobs and are required by law to report abuse and neglect.

PFSA works with affiliated member agencies across Pennsylvania to provide information, educational materials, and programs that teach and support good parenting practices. PFSA also is the Pennsylvania sponsor of The Front Porch Project®, which helps members of the general public become more aware of how to protect children and support families in their own communities.

Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance

Protecting children from abuse

  • Training for professionals
  • Support for families
  • Education for communities

Visit the PFSA website at www.pa-fsa.org.

SOURCE PA Family Support Alliance