(Seguin) -- Be on the lookout for even more reminders that child abuse is no stranger to our community nor is it something to be taken lightly. In observance of April as Child Abuse Prevention Month, the Guadalupe County Children's Advocacy Center (GCCAC) has partnered with even more agencies to triple the locations for their pinwheel displays representing the 393 children served by the non-profit agency in 2015.
GCCAC Executive Director Christy Williams says this marks the third year that volunteers have planted the spinning pinwheels into the lawns of various locations.
"We're really hoping that no matter where people enter or exit Guadalupe County, they're going to see it, because we've got them on all of our major thoroughfares in the cities and coming in and out of the county. Our goal with these pinwheel displays is just to really create a visual display to bring awareness to the problem of child abuse and neglect right here in Guadalupe County. We know that as a team, we see it day in and day out, but the general public doesn't. So it's really important to us to help prevent future abuse to kind of take the taboo feeling away from this topic and have it open and something that people start talking about so that whenever they do suspect abuse, maybe they will be more likely to report it and they aren't as fearful of it because it's the fear of the unknown," said Williams.
Williams says the 393 pinwheels include only those children served by her agency and not the hundreds more that have been removed or investigated by Child Protective Services.
"These kids had to have met our multi-disciplinary team protocols. We don't come together as a team when there are suspicions of dirty houses, when there's suspicions of medical neglect, when there's suspicions of children being left alone and neglected in that way. We come together when children have been beaten brutally, when children have been touched sexually, when maybe both of those things are happening at once -- when children are forced to use drugs or sell drugs, when they witness domestic violence, whenever they witness an arson or murder, those are the types of things that you're seeing in this 393," said Williams.
With pinwheel reminders in all parts of the county, Williams says she hopes that it will cause more adults to stand up against child abuse and to protect those who can't protect themselves. She says it is also important to note that children are often abused and neglected by someone that they know and trust.
"Just be aware. Make it something that you're looking for. Don't find something where it doesn't exist obviously. We don't want people to create any situations. If you've had a suspicion in the past and you just kind of dismissed it, maybe consider reporting it. If it's something that you really do suspect, all it takes is suspecting abuse. That's all it takes to report it. It's not up to you to determine if abuse or neglect has taken place. Let the authorities do that. Let them do their job. It might be that one person makes a call in and they got a tiny piece of the puzzle and that one bit of information helps the team put together this entire puzzle that really creates a clear picture of what's going on in that family and what's going on for that child. It might be what we've been missing and haven't been able to do anything to help that child because we didn't know that one piece of information," said Williams.
Individuals are encouraged to call 1-800-252-5400 or 911 if they have a concern or suspect child abuse and or neglect.
The 14 locations include Faith Lutheran Church (1326 E. Cedar St., Seguin, Texas), First Presbyterian Church (305 N. King St., Seguin, Texas), Guadalupe County Road and Bridge Office (2605 N. Guadalupe St., Seguin, Texas), Zorn Bowling Club (12000 Hwy 123, Zorn, Texas), McQueeney Baptist Church (201 Schumann Rd., McQueeney, Texas), Marion City Hall (303 S. Center St., Marion, Texas), Cibolo Fire Department #2 (3864 Cibolo Valley Dr., Cibolo, Texas), Cibolo Soccer Complex (FM 78 and Main St., Cibolo, Texas), GCCAC (109 S. Main St., Cibolo, Texas), Steele High School (1300 FM 1103, Cibolo, Texas), Guadalupe County Annex Building (1101 Elbel Rd., Schertz, Texas), Schertz United Methodist Church (3406 Roy Richard Dr., Schertz, Texas), Clemens High School (1001 Elbel Rd., Schertz, Texas), and RE/MAX Corridor (17156 IH 35 North, Schertz, Texas).