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April Fallon

COVINGTON, Ga. - National Child Abuse Prevention Month is a time 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. 

Prevent Child Abuse Rockdale/Newton, Rockdale County Public Schools, Newton & Rockdale County Department of Family and Children Services, A Child’s Voice Child Advocacy Center and Court Appointed Special Advocates are partnering during the month of April to encourage all individuals and organizations to play a role in making Newton &  Rockdale Counties  better communities for children and families. 

“By ensuring that parents have the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to care for their children, we can help promote children’s social and emotional well-being and prevent child maltreatment within families and communities,” April Fallon, RCPS director of community and student support, said. 

RCPS requires mandatory child abuse training for all staff each year. 

“Training our teachers is critical because they often are the first to learn of a child whose safety is at risk," Fallon said. "Subsequently, they take the next step in reporting suspected child abuse or neglect to school social workers and school counselors who determine whether or not a DFCS or law enforcement referral is necessary.” 

Child abuse is a form of trauma that impacts a child’s cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development. Its effects on physical and mental health are far-reaching and often last a lifetime. Children who are physically abused are more likely to have suicidal thoughts, learning impairments, a conduct disorder, a poor self-image, abuse drugs or alcohol, act out sexually, and/or show signs of depression. RCPS also implements the curricula, “Think First, Stay Safe” in prekindergarten through fifth grade. The lessons, taught by school counselors, reinforce the importance of treating one another with kindness and respect, the foundation of all healthy relationships. Students also learn how to recognize and evade the child lures commonly used to groom and abuse youngsters, online and offline. Using critical thinking skills, they practice avoidance and refusal strategies in class discussions and practice scenarios.

Prevent Child Abuse Rockdale/Newton is celebrating 30 years in our community. It is a community-based, non-profit provider of prevention and intervention services and is committed to strengthening families and preventing child abuse and neglect by providing families with the information, support, and resources necessary to be successful in raising children. In-home, evidence-based classes are provided through The Newton& Rockdale Positive Parenting Program and The SafeCare Program. The Nurturing Fathers Program is provided at the Newton County Jail. PCA Rockdale/Newton also provides Mandated Reporting and Darkness to Light classes and Quarterly Community Resource Round Table Discussions at Rockdale & Newton DFCS.

According to Veronica Parrott, County Director of Rockdale DFCS, in 2018, Rockdale DFCS processed 1,082 reports (774 children were involved in CPS investigations). Rockdale County DFCS served 156 children in foster care in FY2018. In the same year, according to William Thomas, County Director of Newton DFCS Newton DFCS processed 1,312 reports (985 children were involved in CPS investigations). Newton County DFCS served 110 children in foster care in FY2018. Education is the number one strategy for preventing child abuse. Prevent Child Abuse Rockdale/Newton provides in-home, evidence-based programs throughout the community.

Upcoming events for Prevent Child Abuse Month: 

Rockdale County Commissioners will sign a proclamation on April 23, 2019, at 10 a.m. declaring April as Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month. 

Prevent Child Abuse Rockdale/Newton will host the 2nd annual Walk for Prevention on Saturday, May 4, in the Covington Square. Please go to to sign up to walk for this important cause!

“April is a time to celebrate the important role that communities play in protecting children,” Fallon said. “Everyone’s participation is critical. Focusing on ways to build and promote the protective factors, in every interaction with children and families, is the best thing our community can do to prevent child maltreatment and promote optimal child development.” 

You can find more information about preventing child abuse, as well as tip sheets for managing stress, parenting your school-aged child, keeping your family strong, etc. at