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Pinwheels in Black

April 7, 2011 permalink

When child protectors in Ohio used pinwheels to draw attention to Child Abuse Prevention Month, a group of counter-demonstrators showed up with black pinwheels to memorialize the children who have died in care of child protectors.



Foster care pinwheel event joined by small group in black

pinwheels at Coshockton Ohio
Members of the nonprofit group We the People Family Preservation raise awareness about child abuse happening to children while in foster care across the country. The group will place black pinwheels in Coshocton, Muskingum, Licking and Franklin counties this week.
Valerie Boateng, Tribune

COSHOCTON -- April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and the 219 blue and silver pinwheels placed on the corner of Main and Sixth streets were joined by 10 black pinwheels Monday morning.

A few parents were there, too, holding signs to represent the We The People Family Preservation organization, a nonprofit group raising attention about children abused in foster care. The black pinwheels represent children who died while in foster care nationwide, said L. Wilson, a member of the group and a Coshocton resident.

Heather Darr
Heather Darr, of Coshocton, joined others to raise awareness of abuse and objecting to the loss of parental rights.
Valerie Boateng, Tribune

Wilson said more than 80 percent of the children placed in foster care are there under false allegations, and parents should be aware of their rights.

That is not the case, said Mindy Fehrman, director of Coshocton County Job and Family Services, under which Children Services operates.

"Our mission is to make sure children are safe, whether it's with their parents, relatives or foster care," she said. "We do everything we can to make sure that happens."

The last known instance of a child dying in foster care in Coshocton County was in 1985, and that was not a result of foster care abuse, but of the parental abuse before the child was placed in a foster home, Fehrman said.

The victim had been shaken by a parent, then removed to the custody of Children Services.

"It's our priority that we work with parents and keep children in their homes or in the homes of relatives," Fehrman said. "Have there been tragedies, yes, but we do everything within our power to make sure those tragedies won't happen again."

If a child must be removed from the home placing them with someone they know is a preference, Fehrman said.

Reforming the state's foster care system became a hot-button issue after a 3-year-old boy died near Cincinnati in August 2006. Marcus Fiesel was left bound inside a closet for two days by his foster parents, Liz Carroll and David Carroll Jr.

Both were convicted of murder and are serving life sentences for his death.

More than 75 percent, or 1,257, of the 1,676 child abuse fatalities in the U.S. in 2009 were caused by one or more parents, according to data submitted to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children & Families. About .9 percent, or 151 deaths, were caused by abuse by a foster parent, friend or neighbor or legal guardian.

Each year, the Coshocton County Children's Services places blue and silver pinwheels around the community. These pinwheels represent the number of child abuse reports the agency received in 2010, which is down from the 384 reports in 2009. The agency's goal is to raise awareness of child abuse and to educate the public.

Source: Coshocton Tribune