A sea of bladed flowers seethes in the April breeze at the busy corner of Rathton Road and George Street.

They come alive in their massive metallic patch, breathing in the wind and steadily twirling around.

But in Monday's blustery gusts, some of the pinwheel heads fell off and tumbled away.

As the winds demonstrate, a child's life is cheerful and carefree -- but sometimes it dismantles.

The pinwheel garden represents the 1,124 York County children who were suspected victims of abuse in 2011.

For the second year, the York County Children's Advocacy Center wanted to draw attention to the issue of child abuse in York County through the garden. The pinwheels will spin throughout the month of April, National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Collaboration: The center, a nonprofit organization that works with children who are alleged victims of child abuse, has provided more than 1,800 forensic interviews for York County children since opening in 2006.

York's child abuse prevention is a collaborative effort between advocacy, judicial and medical groups, said Dr. David Turkewitz, chairman of pediatrics for York Hospital. The center allows a child to go through just one forensic interview at one site, not multiple ones in various agencies

Since the center is independent, it allows the mission to be child-focused, he said. He said most of the centers in Pennsylvania are not independent.

"We can be a neutral party and be a safe place, and we're proud of that part," said Deb Harrison, executive director of the center.

For the children: York County generally has the third-most child abuse cases in the state, even though it's eighth in population, Harrison said. Those numbers have shown little change in recent years.

York City Mayor Kim Bracey said the thousand-pinwheel garden is noticeable to passers-by.

"It catches your eye," she said. "I hope it passes a message to people."

One message is that there should be no shame in talking about child abuse, said Kristen Woolley, founder of Turning Point Women's Counseling & Advocacy Center. The center provides support and therapy for female survivors of child sexual abuse.

"It takes a lot of courage to divulge," Woolley said. "It's staggering, the number of cases in York County. But we need to be aware."

She said healing can begin early in victims' lives, and York can break the silence that comes with abuse.

"We have to talk about it," she said.

Turkewitz shared a similar sentiment.

"When (children) speak, we need to listen," he said. "This is one of the things we've gotten right in York."

-- Reach Mollie Durkin at mdurkin@yorkdispatch.com.