Child Services leader calls for prevention over intervention – WISH-TV | Indianapolis News | Indiana Weather

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Every April, county courthouse lawns and other businesses create pinwheel gardens in hopes of bringing light to a dark issue.

Peggy Surbey, director of the Indianapolis region of the Indiana Department of Child Services, said, “The pinwheels represent (a) kind of, whimsical childhood, right? We plant the pinwheels for awareness. They blow in the wind. It’s something kids really like, and it brings us back to children and having a safe childhood.”

For years, the idea of child welfare has been based on intervention. The Indiana Department of Child Services is pushing to change that to prevention.

Survey said, “Child welfare was developed many years ago, and it was developed on the idea of intervening in families life because abuse had occurred. But, prevention has really taken off in the last few years, and it’s a way of us providing resources so the abuse doesn’t occur.”

She says prevention takes a lot of help from the community. “If you are seeing a family struggling — maybe they need food — there are resources you can call. So, maybe support the family instead of report the family. But, we all know there are times that a report needs to be made.”

Surbey says reports are important in the summertime when kids are not in school, where staff members can catch alarming details. “A lot of times we reference physical abuse, but there is neglect and sexual abuse. There is emotional abuse. Indiana is a ‘report it’ state, so if you suspect that you do need to, call the hotline.”

“We have to collaborate together, all of us, none of us can stand in a silo to support children and families in our community. and there are so many resources available in our city, Marion County, and the state to help families before that crisis occurs.”

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