The purple ribbons you see around town have an important message behind them.

That’s what Jennifer Bishop, Resource Worker with Highland Shores Children’s Aid and Co-Chair of Child Abuse Prevention Month, is saying about the month designed to help keep children safe.

Every year in October across Ontario Children’s Aid Societies participate in the purple ribbon campaign. “The idea is to create awareness within the community that it takes everybody to keep kids safe,” Bishop says.

Bishop says that there are over 38,000 kids under 15 years old in Highland Shores’ jurisdiction. She says that about 5.7-percent of those children need help in some way from Highland Shores, with less than 1-percent needing out-of-home placement. Bishop adds that Highland Shores has averaged over 1,250 investigations yearly where people have concerns for a child.

Bishop says that almost 90-percent of children who receive services from Children’s Aid do it because their family isn’t able to meet the physical and emotional needs of their child. “The majority of families working with Children’s Aid Societies aren’t related to abuse that’s commonly associated with child welfare,” Bishop says.

Lisa Parker, Executive Coordinator with Children’s Foundation and Co-Chair of Child Abuse Prevention Month, says that October 24th is the big day this month. That’s when they’re encouraging everyone to wear purple. “We’re encouraging local businesses and schools to dress in purple on the 24th and to send pictures of your team in purple,” she says. Parker adds they want people to take a picture of themselves in purple and post it to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hasting #IBreakTheSilence. Parker adds that there are local businesses that have put up donation boxes for the month.

To learn more about child abuse prevention month, go to the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies website. You can also call Highland Shores at 613-962-9291 for more local information on the month.