To educate all reporters of child abuse, be an advocate of all children and to develop ways to safeguard our children, enhance quality of life and prevent child abuse. We are committed to the service of all children in Arizona by being committed to the prevention and awareness of abuse in the pursuit of exploiting and ending child abuse.
Empower our Communities to Prevent Child Abuse
On August 29, 2009 3-year-old Schala Vera died as a result of child abuse. She was beaten to death by her mothers boyfriend, after months of continued abuse and beatings. Nearly every part of her body was covered in bruises. In a police interview the suspect told detectives that he wished someone would have reported them…if so, Schala would be alive today. Neighbors reported seeing little Schala outside in the Arizona summer heat wearing long pants and a long sleeved shirt, while other children were wearing shorts and tank tops. They never called, even though they later said it seemed odd.
Detective Gary Fuller of the Chandler Police Department was the lead investigator in the death of Schala. Gary along with staff from Mercy Gilbert Hospital, Chandler Fire Department, CPS and Victims Services came forward with the vision of bringing together a coalition made up of agencies across Maricopa County and the State of Arizona in a collaborative manner to educate all people on the signs of child abuse, methods of reporting and where to seek help when in crisis. The group turned to Childhelp USA as a strong, established partner and advocate of children. Childhelp USA has staff working 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week at their call center offering Masters level counseling. It was a perfect fit for the coalition.
Two public service announcements were produced in both English and Spanish and distributed to all media outlets in Maricopa County. The PSA’s have been aired on every network station in the valley and on many government access channels. The PSA ’30 compressions’ won a 2009 Rocky Mountain Emmy Award.
The Child Abuse Prevention & Awareness Coalition exists to educate neighbors, friends, family all citizens about child abuse. Through education, we will help people understand how to report and prevent child abuse.
On April 6, 2010 Governor Jan Brewer proclaimed April ‘Child Abuse Prevention Month’ in the State of Arizona. At the ceremony, 51 empty children’s chairs were placed on the Senate lawn at the State Capital to represent the 51 Arizona children who died in 2008 from child abuse.