You can help CARE House, which sees increasing risk of child abuse during pandemic

Many of you may have seen pinwheel gardens adorning lawns across Montgomery County this month. That’s because April is recognized nationally as Child Abuse Prevention Month.

“We use this month to help spread awareness to the issue of child abuse in our community,” explains Libby Nicholson, director of CARE House, the local organization that responds to allegations of child sexual abuse, severe physical abuse and minor victims of human trafficking.

“The pinwheels represent the carefree childhood that all children deserve to have and the right to grow up free from abuse and neglect,” Nicholson adds. “Child abuse prevention is something we all have a role in, and we must be relentless in our pursuit of protecting children.”

She says her organization has seen the risk to children increase during the pandemic. “The disruption and stress caused by mounting unemployment, school closures, and stay-at-home orders have increased the risk for family violence, including child abuse,” Nicholson says. “Far too many children are stuck at home with their abusers, without the safety net of schools and other mandated reporters. Our resources, and the resources of the families that come through CARE House, have been stretched thin.”

Located on the campus of Dayton Children’s Hospital, CARE House serves over 1,000 children annually and has served over 10,000 children since opening the doors in 1998. The organization, a multi-disciplinary team responding to these allegations, is composed of Dayton Police Department, Montgomery County Children Services, Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office, Dayton Children’s Hospital and Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department.

These agencies collaborate at CARE House to provide an efficient and streamlined approach to these investigations while being trauma-sensitive and child-friendly. This approach helps avoid duplicity while keeping the child’s needs and safety at the forefront.

Says one parent who visited the center: “Everyone was helpful and kind. They made my child feel comfortable and safe. They were resourceful and sincere about handling a bad situation.”

You can be a part of helping children in our community.

In addition to linking families with mental health and medical services, CARE House frequently has families that need help with basic needs. The organization relies on generous donors, like our readers, to help support its mission.

Here are the items most needed at the moment:

  • Small bottles of water
  • Paper towels
  • Plates
  • Plastic silverware
  • Gas gift cards
  • Juice boxes
  • Small bags of chips
  • Small bags of pretzels
  • RTA bus passes
  • Gift cards to fast food locations (McDonald’s, Chick-Fil-A)
  • Grocery gift cards (Walmart, Target, Kroger)

Drop off your donations to CARE House, 410 Valley St., Dayton from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Please call (937) 641-4545 to arrange a drop-off time.

Other ways to help:

  • Financial gifts are welcome and support CARE House’s ongoing operational needs for professional staffing and ongoing training, forensic interview rooms and equipment, therapy resources and play items for the activity area.
  • CARE House also relies heavily on a crew of volunteers who have a heart for children and help with supervising children in the atrium, light clerical work, answering phones and greeting visitors. If you are interested in helping in this way, please contact (937) 641-4545.

You can also find more information about CARE House at www.thecar or on Facebook.


Meredith Moss writes about Dayton-area nonprofit organizations and their specific needs. If your group has a wish list it would like to share with our readers, contact Meredith:

Please include a daytime phone number and a photo that reflects your group’s mission.

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