(TORONTO, ON) - Toronto’s four Children’s Aid Societies are “going social” to promote Child Abuse Prevention Month. The agencies have combined forces to create a Facebook (www.facebook.com/CAPM2011) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/CAPM_Toronto) campaign to spread the word about ways to identify and prevent child abuse and neglect.
This campaign allows Toronto CASs to bring a wealth of information to a large number of people through social media.The agencies will donate 200 stuffed toys to kids once 1000 people ‘Like’ or ‘Follow’ the Facebook and Twitter pages.
The campaign is an annual joint effort between Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, Jewish Family & Child and Native Child and Family Services of Toronto. The goal is to raise public awareness of the signs of child abuse and to provide information on why it’s so important to report child abuse and neglect.
For former Catholic Children’s Aid Society crown ward, Mary, this campaign has special resonance. She came into care at a young age because of abuse and now, as a young adult, she is speaking out to try and educate other people on how to recognize child abuse. “You’re so young and timid, you think you’re going to destroy your family or hurt your family [if you report]. You don’t realize that the sooner this stops, the better the situation becomes.”
Mary’s teacher contacted the Catholic Children’s Aid Society. “I was keeping it in and trying to hide and cope, but it became so overwhelming. I couldn’t be a child anymore,” said Mary. She went to live in a loving, supportive foster home. Her journey has been a difficult one, but she is now a dedicated university student, with a world of possibilities ahead of her.
“In today’s world, an increasing number of people use social media to circulate and receive important information. We feel that this campaign gives us an opportunity to reach a new audience with the message that there are children out there that need protection,” said David Rivard, Chief Executive Officer of the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto.
For the agencies, reaching as many Torontonians as possible with this important message was the key element that social media afforded.
“It’s critical for everyone in the community to learn how to identify the signs of child abuse and neglect and we hope that by making that information available in these formats more people will step forward and report suspicions of abuse,” said Mary A. McConville, Executive Director of the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto.
Over the past year, the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, Jewish Family & Child, and Native Child and Family Services of Toronto have investigated more than 10,000 cases of suspected child abuse or neglect and served more than 50,000 children.