For the last few weeks, the "blue children" have been standing in Champaign, Urbana, Rantoul and Mahomet. They're supposed to recognize National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Mike Williams, Director of Child Advocacy Center, says the goal was to encourage people not to be a silent witness. He says if they are aware of a child being abused or neglected, they should report it.
The campaign went well, but at the end of the month when organizers went to pick up the silhouettes, they were shocked.
"When I went to pick them both up on Tuesday, we found both of the heads had been broken off. Somebody attempted to tape the head back on, but somebody came along knocked the heads off," says Williams.
Three were damaged; six went missing. Williams says he's disappointed, but hopes the vandals and thieves didn't realize what the cut-outs represented.
"I think it's more disturbing if in fact they did know what these children stood for, what the silhouettes stood for, and still went ahead and vandalized or stole them. But I have a feeling most people did not know," says Williams.
Advocates aren't letting the incidents get them down. They say they plan to do the campaign again next year, bigger and better. And they say they still think this first year of the campaign was effective. They say a lot of people asked, "what are those blue kids?" and that's exactly what they were hoping for.
Silhouettes were stolen from the following locations:
2 - McKinley Foundation, 809 S. 5th, Champaign
1 - Christopher Hall, 904 W Nevada, Urbana
1 - Panera, North Neil, Champaign
1 - Rape Crisis Services, 310 West Church, Champaign
1 - WCIA, 509 S. Neil, Champaign
Silhouettes were damaged at the following locations:
2 - Provena, 1400 W. Park, Urbana
1 - Child Advocacy Center, 1601 E Main, Urbana