ELKHART -- Almost 3,000 shiny silver pinwheels decorated the yard of Child and Parent Services as people gathered there to celebrate Elkhart County's children and remember those children who live with abuse.
The organization's Children's Service of Hope coincides with April's being Child Abuse Prevention Month. Of the 56,000 children in Elkhart County, 236 children were determined through court proceedings last year as needing services. This year 83 children have been determined the same because their parents couldn't provide for them, according to Deborah Domine, Elkhart County Juvenile Magistrate.
"Our children are our most valuable resource," Domine said.
But children in Elkhart County are exposed to drugs such as methamphetamine and are abused daily, she said.
Despite that, child services workers recently found locally that child abuse numbers were down last year from 2008, Domine said.
About 70 people turned out on CAPS' lawn to listen to the program and hear the Shout for Joy children's choir sing. Domine received the CAPS Child Advocate of the Year award.
CAPS President and CEO Candy Yoder challenged all of the attendees to help reduce child abuse 10 percent by 2020.
"It's a community-wide effort but it begins with each of us," she said.