SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – All month long, organizations are bringing awareness to child abuse and neglect in Springfield. In honor of the month, organizations and businesses around Springfield are setting out blue pinwheels.

“Pinwheels are the symbol for child abuse prevention that signifies hope and hope for children to have a safe and happy childhood,” CASA Executive Director Laura Farmer said.

CASA, which stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates, said there are 700 abused and neglected kids in Springfield Foster Care.

“Over the past three years with COVID, we have seen a big increase of the number of children entering foster care due to abuse and neglect,” Executive Director Laura Farmer said. “Over the past few months, we have seen that trend declining down. So children are exiting foster care through reunification or adoption and that’s a good thing.”

CASA volunteers act as an advocate for abused and neglected kids in the foster care system.

“It’s incredible how many children just in Greene and Christian counties, the two counties that we serve in are victims, of abuse and neglect,” Volunteer Carolyn Farrar said.

Child abuse was identified as a ‘red flag’ problem area in the latest community focus report.

“Every time you get a child, they have an amazing, usually horrible story,” Farrar said. “You just have to work through that with all of them and do the very best you can.”

In April, Farrar said sharing information and tools on how to prevent abuse and neglect is key.

“The Springfield community is blessed with a lot of organizations that help to prevent child abuse and neglect that actually from the time that someone finds out they’re pregnant, can go into the home and start working with that parent or that family on positive parenting practices, as well as learning about child development,” Farmer said.

CASA said people can donate to Sammy’s Window, become a Foster Parent, or volunteer to get involved.