CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Gov. Mark Gordon signed a proclamation today declaring April as Child Abuse Awareness Month.
Sponsored by various child advocacy and social justice organizations, the proclamation encourages Wyomingites to support children, their families and abuse intervention and protection programs.
“[Child] abuse and neglect can be reduced by giving families the support to raise their family in a healthy environment,” the proclamation states.
In 2022, there were 832 substantiated cases of child abuse or neglect in Wyoming involving 681 children, according to the Wyoming Department of Family Services.
From October 2021 to September 2022, there were 43 victims of child physical abuse, 340 victims of child sexual abuse and three victims of child pornography, according to the Wyoming Division of Victim Services.
The division spent $191,000 that year toward providing victims with medical, mental health and other services, said Lynn Storey-Huylar, executive director of Safe Harbor in Cheyenne.
“That’s a lot of money we’re spending to help kids heal on their journey,” she said during the signing.
Governor Gordon said he applauds Wyoming’s child advocacy services for their work in keeping kids safe.
“Seeing a group of people here and the commitment to making sure we stop something in its tracks, this is a very happy day,” he said during the signing.
Sara Serelson, executive director of the Wyoming Children’s Trust Fund, said preventing child abuse at the state and local levels is a community effort.
“Too often our society thinks that raising children is just for a parent or a caregiver to be responsible,” she said during the signing. “In reality, we all benefit when groups of people work together to collectively care for children.”
Statewide partners involved in the proclamation include the Child Advocacy Centers of Wyoming, the Children’s Trust Fund, Prevent Child Abuse Wyoming, Wyoming Citizen Review Panel, the Victim Services Division of the Wyoming Office of the Attorney General, Protective Services Division of the Wyoming Department of Family Services, the Wyoming GAL Program and the Wyoming Chiefs and Sheriffs Association.
The Laramie County Commissioners passed a resolution during their Tuesday meeting also recognizing April as Child Abuse Awareness month.