April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Every April, the Memphis Child Advocacy Center memorializes children who have died as a result of abuse or neglect at their Children’s Memorial Flagraising ceremony. This year, the organization can’t hold the gathering because of coronavirus precautions. However, they are still inviting the public to help remember the children.
The Children’s Memorial Flag will fly for the month of April to remember 4-year-old Ayden Robinson, 2-year-old Anaya Boyd, 4-month-old Bentley Cook, 4-year-old Demarion Brown, 2-year-old JaKobe Chaffin, and all children lost to abuse and neglect. The flag has been raised at Civic Center Plaza outside of Memphis City Hall. It is also flying on the lawn of the Memphis Child Advocacy Center.
“Every decision made by leaders in our community must consider the wellbeing of our most vulnerable citizens, our children,” Mayor Jim Strickland said. “As we move through this crisis and more people are staying at home, the importance of seeing something and saying something about suspected child abuse could not be more important. Thanks to Memphis Child Advocacy Center for all they do to protect our children.”
The multi-agency Shelby County Child Protection Investigation Team, headquartered at the Memphis Child Advocacy Center, continues to respond to reports of suspected abuse and protect children in dangerous situations. Virginia Stallworth, executive director of the Child Advocacy Center, stated, “Right now, stress is especially high. Parents and children are isolated at home. There are many resources in our community—agencies like Kindred Place—that can help families who need support.”
Jennifer Balink, executive director of Kindred Place, said, “This is a stressful time for all parents, even those who don’t typically struggle with conflict or aggression in their homes. Even in the best of times, we all benefit from encouragement, expertise and support. In these very difficult times, we all need it even more.” During the public health response to COVID-19, Kindred Place is offering free phone counseling and an online co-parenting class.
The Children’s Memorial Flag also serves as a call to action. Adults who suspect abuse are urged to report it to law enforcement or the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services at 1-877-237-0004. Parents who need support can call Kindred Place at 901-276-2200 or visit MemphisCAC.org
for other resources. People are invited to follow the Memphis Child Advocacy Center on Facebook
, and Instagram
to learn more about protecting kids.