Despite Wednesday’s wet and cool weather, Child Protective Services held its annual Protected and Connected outdoor festival in the parking lot of the CPS headquarters.
The event is aimed at keeping kids healthy and safe by informing parents via information booths manned by law enforcement, healthcare providers, local businesses and other support services.
“A lot of people don’t know these organizations are out here for them, so just having this event is very informative for the community, I believe,” said Martin Henderson, CEO of Fatherhood Matters, Inc, which had a booth at the event.
While informative, the festival also had plenty of food, games and prizes for kids and families.
“Some of these children are foster children and their foster families may be out here with them,” said Mary Walker, Child Protective Services spokesperson. “Some of them may be families that we've intervened or had intervention with before."
A booth set up by SAPD offered free fingerprinting and DNA swabbing for children.
“In the event the child ever goes missing or is abducted, the foster parent or parent can give that information to law enforcement and they'll have that data to be able to locate the child,” said CPS Special Investigator Chuck Paul.
"Anybody who loves kids wants to be a part of this organization. So many children are abused throughout this city, and this is just one statement to them telling them we care,” said David Keller, vice president of Greater Texas Federal Credit Union, which also had a booth set up at the festival.
CPS will continue hosting events throughout the month geared toward child abuse prevention. It will spend $1 million on an ad campaign made possible through a federal grant.