LANDOVER, MD – Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks, Police Chief Henry P. Stawinski, Colonel Darrin Palmer, Chief Assistant Sheriff, Betty Hager Francis, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Health, Human Services and Education, Gloria Brown, Director of the Department of Social Services, and Jennifer Hoffman, Acting Director of the Prince George’s Child Resource Center, along with a team of local partners and nearly 100 children, launched the “Who’s Watching My Child?” Child Care Safety Awareness campaign on Thursday, April 14, 2016, at Watkins Regional Park in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. The campaign coincides with Child Abuse Prevention Month, which is observed nationally in April. It was developed in response to recent tragedies related to children’s harm at the hands of caregivers, and to provide information about child care resources in Prince George’s County.
The Child Care Safety Awareness campaign is designed to inform parents of what to look for when allowing someone to care for their children, and will empower families to keep their children safe by providing resources and greater awareness of the importance of choosing appropriate child care. “This year during Child Abuse Prevention Month, it is our goal to raise more than just awareness. We are working to increase the community’s ability to keep children safe,” said Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III. “Law enforcement is doing its part by arresting and prosecuting individuals who commit crimes against children. It is now time for the community to do its part by being vigilant in knowing who is caring for our babies. We hope this campaign helps to increase the community’s ability to protect our most innocent and vulnerable citizens.”
“Over the last two years, we have seen five children killed at the hands of their mothers’ boyfriends after the child was left with them because the mother felt she had no other childcare options,” said State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks. “That is why it is so important that we have these resources available for families who cannot find or afford safe childcare. We must do better for our children and for their parents and with today’s announcement, we are taking the first step towards doing that.”
“As a prevention oriented, strategy-based police department, it is our goal not to investigate these cases once we learn of them, it is to prevent them from happening in the first place,” said Chief of Police Henry P. Stawinski. “Where your children are concerned, we ask parents to be nosey, ask questions, and call authorities with any concerns.”
Colonel Darrin Palmer, Chief Assistant Sheriff, added, “What a great opportunity parents have today to become educated, have resources available, and become connected with information on licensed child care providers.”
Gloria Brown, Director of the Prince George’s County Department of Social Services, stated, “It is time for us to be proactive and it is imperative that parents make every effort to ensure the safety of their children. Whether you are leaving to go to work or leaving to run an errand, always stop and ask ‘who is watching my child?’ It goes well beyond just knowing the person’s name. If the person caring for your child has displayed anger issues or disciplined your child without your knowledge or permission, you must STOP—assess Safety, assess Trust, Observe the environment and have a backup Plan that does not place your children in harm’s way.”
The Prince George’s County Department of Social Services provides referrals to licensed child care providers at 877-261-0060 or more information about child abuse prevention programs and activities during the month of April and throughout the year, contact 301-909-7073 or email us at email@example.com.