ALPENA - The Alpena/Presque Isle Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Team will be presenting a pinwheel garden in front of the Alpena County Annex Building on Friday from 11-1 p.m., to build awareness of child abuse and neglect in the community and unite those who are willing to fight against this growing problem. There will be information available on the severity of the issue from a local perspective and what the community can do to help eliminate abuse and neglect.
"This is all part of a national movement sponsored by the Children's Trust Fund," team Vice President Lee Fitzpatrick said. "Lansing had a similar event on the first of April."
According to Fitzpatrick, the Alpena/Presque Isle area falls in the bottom 20 percent of the state, which is not a good indication. It means the area has one of the higher percentages of children being abused or neglected.
"In terms of confirmed cases of child abuse and neglect from 2005-2011, the numbers have tripled in the last six years," Fitzpatrick said. "We need to build awareness."
The Children's Trust Fund goes directly to pay for the program, and the rest is funded by donations from the community, he said.
"We are so far beyond what the average is in the state," he said. "Every single case of child abuse and neglect is horrifying."
The team also will hold a press conference at 12 p.m. during the pinwheel garden presentation with Judge Thomas LaCross, who is a member of the team and presides over family court.
If there is inclement weather Friday during the event times, the presentation will be held indoors at the Annex Building in the Howard Male conference room at the same times.
"Anyone that can't make it to the event should feel free to get in touch with the team," Fitzpatrick said. "The more people who want to help the better. The community should be aware of this problem."
Nicole Grulke can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5687. Follow Nicole on Twitter @ng_alpenanews.