As Child Abuse Awareness Month comes to a close, unfortunately, Child Abuse doesn't stop.

While we bring attention to the horrific statistics in April and the role that every adult plays in protecting children, we must continue to fight this battle every month.

Earlier today, an event was held at the Oneida County Child Advocacy Center (CAC) in Utica, in which blue pinwheels were strategically placed outside the CAC to recognize the importance of Child Abuse Awareness, not only in April, but year round. Local child abuse statistics were also shared by several speakers today.

Speakers at today's event included Chief Deputy Derrick O’Meara, Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr, Oneida County Undersheriff Joseph Lisi, Deputy Commissioner of the Oneida County Department of Social Services Michael Romano, Executive Director of the YWCA of the Mohawk Valley Diane Stancato, and Oneida County Assistant District Attorney Luke Davignon.

In 2020, 19,984 abused and neglected children were served by 46 Child Advocacy Centers covering 60 Counties and 3 Tribal Nations in New York State. 869 of these children were served here at the Oneida County Child Advocacy Center. Since January 1st, 2021, the Oneida County Child Advocacy Center has received 304 reports of Child Sexual Abuse.

The Oneida County Child Advocacy Center is comprised of members of the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office, Rome Police, Utica Police, and the New York State Police (NYSP), as well as victim advocates from the YWCA, victim counselors from Center for Family Life and and Recovery, and the Neighborhood Center. There are also several Oneida County Child Protective Caseworkers assigned to the CAC. Medical personnel are on call to provide service to victims on an on call basis. The CAC is also the designated agency to investigate cases of child sex trafficking, and has a specialized counselors to deal exclusively with victims of sex trafficking, and high-risk youth. The CAC is also a member of ICAC, which stands for Internet Crimes against Children. As part of ICAC the CAC is involved in child pornography investigations in conjunction with the NYSP. Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr., Sheriff Robert Maciol, District Attorney Scott McNamara, DSS Commissioner Colleen Fahy-Box, and other partners in the C.A.C. have designated the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office to manage the operations of the center.