Communities across the country continue to honor those children who have been victims of abuse during April’s awareness month, and local officials at Polk County’s offices for the Department of Family and Children’s Services are no different.

Earlier in the month, officials placed pinwheels in front of their office in hopes to remind those passing by that a real problem exists in Polk County, and one that isn’t going to go away anytime soon without action from the community as a whole.

As of this month, DFCS’ Robin Forston reports that 122 children remain under the agency’s custody after being removed from their homes and families for a variety of reasons.

When parent struggle with their problems and children go neglected, and in many cases also physically, emotionally and mentally abused, DFCS is forced to step into the homes of local families and remove those children, many of which end up in the care of foster families or group homes instead of getting to stay locally with relatives.

On average, the local DFCS office receives some 20 reports a week of child abuse or neglect.

Pinwheels placed around the community in show of solidarity to bringing awareness and action to the problem are a help, but what DFCS really needs is help in ensuring children aren’t taken away from their hometowns when separated from parents.

That takes much needed additional volunteer support by becoming foster parents, Forston said.

It is as simple as picking up the phone and calling Forston at 404-895-6517 or email robin.forston@dhs.ga.gov. Those who want to go online and learn more about being a foster parent can do so by visiting fostergeorgia.com. Requirements such as drug and background checks and classes are part of the process of becoming a foster parent.

During this month of awareness and remembrance, DFCS workers were also shown the thanks they deserve from the community during a luncheon held on April 6.

The First United Methodist church of Rockmart hosted DFCS staff with an employee appreciation luncheon.

The agency does more than just investigate allegations of child abuse or neglect. They are also responsible for running the state’s food assistance program, Medicaid, TANF, childcare assistance, and also runs the state’s medicaid program for the elderly and disabled.