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…Because every child needs a champion.

And YOU could be that champion for a child. That’s the foundation of our PA Blue Ribbon Champions for Safe Kids movement – empowering and inspiring every Pennsylvanian to become vigilant in protecting Pennsylvania’s children from abuse and neglect.

Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance (PFSA), the state leader in child protection, created this award-winning campaign in 2017 to honor individuals who go above and beyond through their work or volunteer activities to nurture and protect children in their communities. PFSA hosts an awards ceremony at the State Capitol each April, Child Abuse Prevention Month, to celebrate these heroes. The prestigious event features youth performances and a moving tribute to the memory of the children we have lost forever to abuse in Pennsylvania.

In addition, PFSA staff and board members, sponsors, and community volunteers plant thousands of blue ribbon flags, and a memorial garden of black flags for the children who died, to symbolize each child harmed by abuse in PA in one year’s time. PFSA invites businesses, organizations, and individual residents to shine blue lights and wear blue ribbons to honor child victims during April. The display along State Street and around the front of the Capitol, and the blue lights and ribbons on buildings and bridges throughout Pennsylvania, offer haunting reminders of the devastating toll of child abuse in the commonwealth.

As well, these symbols remind us that there is much work to be done. Our PA Blue Ribbon Champions for Safe Kids movement is a call to action to get involved, to strengthen and support families, to watch out for the safety of children in your neighborhood, and to learn how to report child abuse to ChildLine, the state’s 24/7 reporting hotline at 800-932-0313.

Child abuse is a public health crisis. But it is preventable. Each of us must play a role in child protection. Because every child needs a champion.

“I’ve always loved kids. I have six going on seven kids of my own. I work all day. I coach. Having kids safe is a big deal for me because, just looking at it from my childhood perspective, I didn’t have a lot of things that a child should have. So one of the big reasons I’m doing what I’m doing is I want to give and make sure these kids are getting everything that they can have to help them to be healthy and be a positive influence in the society.”

Andre Cooper

Foster Parent and Teen Outreach Manager, Bethesda Mission Youth Center

“Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance has given families a multitude of information. You can call them any time and say, ‘Hey, I need this or that.’ If they don’t know it when you call, they will find it and get back to you in a very timely manner. I called Beth (Bitler – PFSA director of programs) and her partners many times and said, ‘Hey, I had this issue with child abuse and who do you know?’ I like to have a relationship with somebody who works in the organization and that’s what you can get with PFSA.”

Natrina Cox

Resident Services Coordinator, Preservation Management, Inc., Harrisburg

“Being there as a parent, listening to your child and being consistent is one of the best qualities a parent could have in being a father to his children. And that’s what I learned from Family Support Alliance.”

Marshall Harrison

Father, Recovering from Addiction and Incarceration

“I don’t want folks to think I did this (donated to PFSA) just to settle a football bet. That donation was long overdue for me. I have wanted to do something about child abuse and this was the right opportunity to give.”

Jarret Forst

PFSA Donor

“We spend a lot of money in our health care system, billions dollars, on the effects of abuse and neglect. We spend billions of dollars in the corrections system and in the law system to solve this problem. If we could convert some of those monies to prevention efforts, I think we could solve this problem.”

Dr. Lori Frasier

Division chief of child abuse pediatrics, Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital

“The PA Family Support Alliance training has given our school district and our staff members the knowledge to know the difference between child abuse and neglect, and how to take care of those reports and who to report them to.”

Susan Shinn-Thomas

Home and School Visitor Social Worker, Warwick School District (Train the Trainer Session)

“My job is to oversee a group of visitors who go into homes to work with children birth to three years of age. And this training is so critically important because it provides us an opportunity to go back and support our home visitors in really understanding their role as mandated reporters of child abuse.”

Cindy Sunderland

Program manager, Snyder, Union, Mifflin Child Development Center, Healthy Families America

“Grandkids today, they need more love. They need more love than what they get. And they just don’t get it and I think that’s the most important thing - love for them. That’s why I like (PFSA) these meetings we’re having now. I can see what’s new and we can help.”

Ezra Bupp

Grandfather raising grandchildren, attends PFSA programs

“I thought the mandated reporter training was very good. It was amazing because we’ve been trying to figure out how to balance everything out with our families and situations that kids come in with and this training really helped me to get some direction.”

Serina Brown

Dir. of Youth Ministry, Bethesda Mission

The 2018 PA Blue Ribbon Champion Awards were sponsored by: