Pelham goes blue for Child Abuse Prevention month

PELHAM – While driving down U.S. 31 at night in Pelham, residents may have noticed that the lights outside of City Hall are blue, but many are probably unaware of the significance of those blue lights.

City Hall is going blue for the entire month of April in honor of National Child Abuse Prevention month. During this time the nation is asked to acknowledge the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse and neglect, and to promote the social and emotional well being of children and families, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website.

The city of Pelham is partnering with Alabama Family Rights Association (ALFRA), the Exchange Club of Shelby County and Exchange Club Child Abuse Prevention Center to bring awareness toward the mission of overcoming parental alienation, which is a form of child abuse that can arise from divorce, high-conflict marriages or separation, according to a news release from ALFRA.

“Every child has a fundamental right and need for an unthreatened and loving relationship with both parents, and to be denied that right by one parent or third party, without sufficient justification such as abuse or neglect, is in itself a form of child abuse,” the release states. “Since it is the child who is being violated by a parent’s alienating behaviors, it is the child who is being alienated from the other parent.”

The Exchange Club of Shelby County, ALFRA and Exchange Club CAP Center planted 40 pinwheels along on each side of the walkway leading to the Pelham City Hall. The pinwheels symbolize balance, which is intended to represent the balance children have in their lives when they are free to spend time with both of their parents.

The 40 pinwheels represent the estimated 40,000 children each year that are affected by parental alienation in some form.

To further emphasize the importance of both parents in a child’s life, on March 29 former Gov. Robert Bentley proclaimed April 23-29 as Parental Alienation Prevention Week in Alabama, and April 25 has been set aside as Bubbles For Love Day.

At noon on April 25, residents are asked to blow soap bubbles inside or outside for 10 minutes. The act symbolizes the love that should flow freely between children and their parents.