14:39 PM

Child Abuse Prevention Assembly Convened Community Leaders

Nearly 5,000 pinwheels planted for memorial of child abuse victims

In honor of National Child Abuse Prevention Month in April, Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc. hosted a Child Abuse Prevention Assembly Tuesday to bring together leaders and decision-makers in San Antonio to discuss how to prevent child abuse and neglect in our community. To raise awareness, Methodist Healthcare Ministries planted 4,941 pinwheels in front of their corporate headquarters in the medical center to represent each confirmed victim of child abuse last year in Bexar County.

"This is a critical issue that must remain top of mind," expressed Kevin C. Moriarty, president & CEO at Methodist Healthcare Ministries. "We as safety net providers, community leaders, advocates, health care professionals, philanthropists and elected officials must look for solutions to stop the number of victims from growing in our community."

Several San Antonio child abuse prevention experts were in attendance at this invite-only event, including Methodist Children's Hospital doctors and nurses, and representatives from local nonprofit agencies. Notable presenters included: Methodist Healthcare Ministries President & CEO Kevin C. Moriarty; ChildSafe President & CEO Kim Abernethy; Bexar County Children's Court Associate Judge Rich Garcia; City of San Antonio Police Department Chief William McManus, Methodist Children's Hospital Medical Director Dr. Sebrina Perkins, CPS Regional Director Erica Bañuelos and State Senator Jose Menendez.

"I look at those pinwheels and I hear that number, the almost 5,000 children - which is the confirmed number, although everyone here knows that's a greater number than what's reported – we need to do whatever we can to prevent even just one child from abuse," said Senator Jose Menendez. "I was thinking about the birth of my children, and being in the waiting room feeling so much anticipation and hope. Somehow along the way, you sometimes forget that feeling of excitement and nervousness of that brand new baby. Regardless of what stage of life they are in, we need to always treasure our children that way."

The pinwheels were planted to symbolize childhood, innocence and prosperity. They represent the hope that together we can help the kids in our community enjoy a safe, happy and healthy childhood.

Reports about abuse can be made to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services at 1-800-252-5400 or www.dfps.state.tx.us or to a law enforcement agency. Additional information can be found at www.childwelfare.gov. To learn more about Methodist Healthcare Ministries' parenting programs, visit http://www.mhm.org/programs/family-wellness or call 800-959-6673.

About Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc.

Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc. is a private, faith-based not-for-profit organization dedicated to creating access to health care for the uninsured through direct services, community partnerships and strategic grant-making in 74 counties across South Texas. The mission of the organization is "Serving Humanity to Honor God" by improving the physical, mental and spiritual health of those least served in the Rio Texas Conference area of The United Methodist Church. The mission also includes Methodist Healthcare Ministries' one-half ownership of the Methodist Healthcare System, the largest healthcare system in South Texas, which creates a unique avenue to ensure that it continues to be a benefit to the community by providing quality care to all and charitable care when needed. For more information, visit www.mhm.org.