Residents Can Join Cuyahoga County in Helping to Prevent Child Abuse

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Lorin Hancock: (216) 881-4574, 
Mary Louise Madigan: (216) 698-2521, 

CLEVELAND – Throughout April, National Child Abuse Prevention Month, Cuyahoga County’s Division of Children and Family Services will engage our community to help prevent abuse, recognize signs of abuse, and learn what to do when abuse is suspected. Activities include a community gathering in Public Square, a training for mandated reporters, an event at the Strongsville Mall, and more.

“Preventing child abuse is the job of every single person in our community,” said Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish. “You know your neighbors, friends, and relatives better than a government agency ever could. If you think a family is in crisis, struggling with extreme poverty, substance abuse, or domestic violence, pick up the phone and call 696-KIDS.”

In addition to events, Cuyahoga County is participating in the state’s Everyday Ohio Heroes campaign, raising public awareness about how to help kids in need. Ohio and the County are encouraging all residents to express their own “superpowers” by mentoring children and young adults; donating money, goods, or services to help children impacted by abuse; and empowering young people to understand abuse and neglect and speak out when they or someone they know is in danger.

“We want everyone to think about these everyday superpowers—little or big things they can do that will make a difference in a child’s life,” said Cuyahoga County DCFS Director Cynthia Weiskittel. “Right now, there are more than 2,500 children in County custody, more than we’ve had in years. Whatever you can do—from donating gifts during the holiday season, all the way to becoming a foster parent—we need your help.”

The County is also joining the painted rock craze, painting and distributing blue rocks around the area for residents to find. The 570 rocks, symbolizing the number of children in permanent County custody, will each display the hashtag #CuyahogaHero, encouraging finders to go online and learn more about preventing child abuse.

Anyone who knows of or suspects child abuse or neglect, or would like to refer a family for services, should call 216-696-KIDS for help. Visit to learn more about the signs of child abuse and neglect.

Child Abuse Prevention Month Events and Activities:

Be a Hero 4 Kids Foster Recruitment Event
Saturday, April 6, 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm SouthPark Mall, 500 Southpark Center, Strongsville

Join BeAHero4Kids, SouthPark Mall, and DCFS for the opening weekend of Shazam, a film about a child in foster care who gains super powers. Learn how to become a foster or adoptive parent and enjoy a live performance by costumed superheroes. Attendees are encouraged to dress in superhero costumes. This event is free and open to the public but does not include admission to the film.

Wear Blue Day - Public Square Community Gathering
Wednesday, April 10, 12:30 pm Public Square, Cleveland

All residents are encouraged to wear blue and join DCFS and community partners on Public Square to support child abuse awareness and prevention in the community. The program will include a short presentation and information about becoming a Cuyahoga Hero for children in need. Free and open to the public.

Terminal Tower Goes Blue
Wednesday, April 10

Check the Cleveland skyline after dark to see our most iconic building participate in Wear Blue Day.

DCFS In Your Neighborhood
Thursday, April 18, 5:00 pm St. Martin De Porres, 1264 East 123rd St., Cleveland

DCFS will discuss the role you can play in keeping children safe and families stable in your community. Agency staff will also be available to address specific cases and personal questions. Free and open to the public.

Mandated Reporter Training
Saturday, April 27 Jane Edna Hunter Atrium, 3955 Euclid Ave., Cleveland

Mandated reporters of child abuse, including physicians, child care workers, religious leaders, school teachers, and more are required by law to make a report whenever there is reasonable cause to suspect child abuse or neglect. At this training, learn to recognize the signs of abuse, how and when to report, and what happens after a report is made. Free and open to the public.