Butterfly ceremony in Welch honors victims of child abuse

McDowell County

Head start kids released butterflies into the sky in honor of victims of child abuse and neglect. 

Local law enforcement joined the children from War Cove and Welch PK Head Start at the Butterfly and Blessings Remembrance ceremony in Welch to raise awareness of child abuse and neglect in the area.

McDowell County Sheriff, Martin West, said, “We’re here to support it and support the children of McDowell county. All of these beautiful children and there’s too many of them abused if one of them is abused. So we’re here to support and maybe we can help stop some problems and bring smiles to these kid’s faces.”

The people behind Stop the Hurt Inc. put on the event. Stop the Hurt, is a McDowell County children’s advocacy center that provides direct services, like forensic interviews and counseling to child abuse victims and their families, as well as public outreach and educational programs. 

Executive director, Francesca Collins, said the event brings children and law enforcement together. 

“What we’re trying to do is promote a positive relationship between the kids and law enforcement,” said Collins. “A lot of times these kids are scared of law enforcement.”

The kids got to hang out, eat lunch and take pictures with law enforcement. Speakers at the event talked about how a child’s behavior can indicate abuse. 

West said engaging with the children helps them in the fight against child abuse.

“If we’re out here interacting maybe they can see that we’re the good people, the good guys, and we’re here to help,” said West. “Maybe they could run to us sometime and we could stop some of the abuse that’s going on.”

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