A program which advocates for children in the Paulding court system will recognize April as National Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month with a “Light of Hope” candlelight event.

On April 28 at 6 p.m., the Paulding County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) is set to host a candlelight vigil at Veterans Park pavilion adjacent to the Watson Government Complex on U.S. Hwy. 278 in Dallas, a news release stated. The event is open to the public.

The vigil is part of a movement by CASA organizations nationwide to light a symbol of hope for abused and neglected children.

“We are inviting community partners, government agencies and the public to join us to light a candle as a symbol of hope and to raise awareness,” said Maria Rodriguez-Curtis, the group’s recruitment and training coordinator.

The community is often unaware of the severity of child abuse and neglect in Paulding County, the release stated. There were 1,543 reports of child abuse and neglect in 2015 in Paulding county of which 226 were substantiated and 160 of these children were served in foster care, the release stated.

The community agencies and CASA Paulding volunteers helped ensure that these children would have safe, lasting homes where they can thrive. CASA volunteers served a total of 288 children involved in juvenile dependency cases in Paulding County. They drove over 30,000 miles to advocate for these children and dedicated 4,435 volunteer hours, the release stated.

Those interested in being part of the vigil can show up with a light – candle, flashlight, or glow stick. CASA Paulding will be providing candles and suggests everyone to wear blue, the release stated.

Paulding County Juvenile Court Judge Sandra Miller and Paulding DFCS director Jim Provost are scheduled to speak, Rodriguez-Curtis said.

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