PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Inside the Philadelphia City Council chambers on Thursday morning, a resolution was introduced to protect those most vulnerable.
The resolution declared April 2023 as Child Abuse Prevention Month in Philadelphia. The month is nationally recognized as a time to raise awareness and prevention efforts when it comes to child abuse.
Philadelphia's resolution was introduced by Councilmember-at-Large Isaiah Thomas, with help from 7th District Councilmember Quetcy Lozada.
"Thank you to all of my colleagues for supporting our children the way that we continue to do as a legislative body," said Thomas.
"We're looking forward to continued partnerships and the work that can be done to protect young people," added Lozada.
The council members introduced the resolution at City Hall by recognizing an organization that works to prevent child abuse across Philadelphia: the Philadelphia Children's Alliance (PCA).
"We just want to bring light to child abuse and be able to prevent child abuse and child sexual abuse as well," said Benita Williams, executive director of PCA.
The work of the PCA isn't getting any easier. More than 1,800 children died in the U.S. in 2021 due to abuse and neglect.
Williams says abuse is just as much of an issue now as it was decades ago.
"We're one of the poorest cities in the nation. Poverty plays a big part in abuse and neglect," she noted.
PCA's work and recognition at City Hall take place as communities mourn the loss of young lives like 11-year-old Matthew Whitehead.
READ: Mom charged with murder of 11-year-old son in Horsham, Pennsylvania then fleeing to New Jersey
Police say his mother, worried about financial struggles, confessed to strangling him to death inside their Horsham home this week.
Unfortunately, statistics show it's not uncommon for children who suffer abuse or neglect to endure it at the hands of their own mothers.
The 6abc Data team found that in 2021, an estimated 600,000 children nationwide were victims of maltreatment.
More than 502,000 children were abused by parents, and of that group, the most common situation was a mother acting alone.
It's led organizations like the PCA to focus on providing resources for parents.
"We say the same things the flight attendants say when we're on a plane: you have to take care of yourself first before you can take care of anyone else," said PCA's Associate Director Vickie Melvin.
The organization is holding a free community conference on April 17, it's open to all community members including parents, neighbors, and caregivers who want to learn ways to help prevent abuse.
"Our goal is to help people be more aware of how to stop child abuse," said Melvin.
Reservations are highly encouraged for the free PCA conference.
To reserve a spot, click here.