Free food, games, and prizes at Child Abuse Prevention Carnival

In recognition of April as Child Abuse Prevention Month, Madison County Protective Services planted pinwheels in the lawn at the Madison County Courthouse. The “431” represents the number of individuals who contacted the department in 2023 to report instances of child abuse or neglect.

(Posted April 15, 2024)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

In recognition of Child Abuse Prevention Month, Madison County Protective Services is hosting its annual Child Abuse Prevention Carnival on April 26.

The event will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Coughlin Community Center on the Madison County Fairgrounds, 205 Elm St., London. Everything, including admission, is free. The event serves as a family-friendly night of fun.

Those who attend can expect games, balloon animals, face painting, and food, including hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, and drinks. Plenty of door prizes for children will be up for grabs, including bicycles, electric scooters, hoverboards, and battery-powered four-wheelers. Door prizes for adults include gift cards and merchandise donated by area businesses and sponsors.

Several agencies, from Madison County Juvenile Court and the Sheriff’s Office to Bridges Community Action and Madison County Public Health, will be on hand to share information about services and resources related to safe and healthy living that are available to families in the county.

“We hope people will come out to the carnival and have a fun, family-friendly night together where everything is free, and also get some information they can take home with them about services they might need in the future,” said Julie Harris, Madison County Protective Services administrator.

The first Child Abuse Prevention Carnival was held in 2013. The event averages 500 attendees each year.

This year during Child Abuse Prevention Month, Madison County Protective Services is emphsizing the need for more people to report instances of child abuse or neglect. Certain members of the community, including teachers, doctors, social workers, and law enforcement personnel, are required to report such instances. Individuals in the community can do the same.

Last year, 431 individuals in the community called Protective Services to report child abuse or neglect. In some cases, the individuals witnessed or suspected the abuse or neglect. In others, a child told the individual something had happened to them.

“It takes a village,” Harris said. “We really appreciate those who call in the reports so we can get out there to help the child or help the families with resources that can help them thrive.”

To make a report, an individual can call (740) 852-4770 and ask for Children’s Services or make the report in person at 200 Midway St., London. The department has someone available to take reports Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. After hours and on weekends, individuals can call the Sheriff’s Office at (740) 852-1212 ; the office will relay the call to Children’s Services. Those who make a report can ask to be anonymous. The department does not share the names of people who make reports.

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