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Pinwheel production
Program preparing for National Child Abuse Prevention month

COVINGTON - April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and Prevent Child Abuse Newton is doing its part to make sure the community is aware of the problem and the solution.

Beginning this Saturday, pinwheels representing the number of child abuse cases reported in 2008 will be on display at Newton Federal Bank; The Church at Covington; Newborn; the Department of Family and Children Services; and the Square in downtown Covington.

Reported cases have been decreasing for the last two years, dropping from about 1,400 in 2006 to 1,333 in 2007. For 2008, they dropped even more to 1,179.

"We're going to look at it as good news," Prevent Child Abuse Newton Executive Director Sheena Berry said. "We're going to say that, hopefully, we're making a difference. All of us are working together: Juvenile Court, DFACS, the community at large. All of us are working together to try to do what we can to protect children."

On April 4, Prevent Child Abuse Newton will hold a motorcycle ride and family festival to further that cause.

Riders will leave from the old Wal-Mart on U.S. Highway 278 at 10 a.m. and are expected to arrive at The Church at Covington on Ga. Highway 142 about 55 minutes later.

Registration begins at 9 a.m. The cost is $15 per rider or $25 for two riders on one motorcycle.

Following the ride, a free festival will take place at The Church at Covington. The festival will include food, entertainment, games and information on local agencies and organizations, including Prevent Child Abuse Newton, the Newton County Health Department and the Department of Family and Children Services.

Representatives from Prevent Child Abuse Newton will also be speaking to community organizations throughout the month to raise awareness and give information on signs of abuse and how to report it.

"We're trying to do some small workshops around the county this year," Berry said. "It's all about education, education, education. We're trying to educate the community on what we are, what we do and how we can help families."

One of the main outreach programs of Prevent Child Abuse Newton is parenting classes offered four times per year. The classes teach communication skills and appropriate discipline techniques.

"Because there is a direct correlation, research has shown, between parenting skills and child abuse and neglect, we focus on parenting skills. Research shows if the attitude of the parents changes, it changes the entire household," Berry said.

For more information, call Prevent Child Abuse Newton at 678-342-4004.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.