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Omaha family shares their story and fight against child abuse

Posted at 1:38 PM, Apr 11, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-11 14:38:14-04
  • April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and all across Omaha blue pinwheels are popping up to represent happy healthy childhoods
  • Douglas and Sarpy Counties make up 50% of child abuse cases in the state of Nebraska
  • Watch to learn more about this families call to action


All across our Omaha thousands of blue pinwheelsare popping up, they're a symbol of the happy healthy childhood that every kid deserves, but not every kid gets because of abuse. One family is sharing their story and signs to look out for so you can protect your child.

"I desperately, desperately wanted to believe that it was an accident. I didn't want to believe somebody hurt him in a fit of anger," said Megan McDougal.

Like most young parents during the week Megan and T.J. McDougal dropped their son Tye off at a day care center, until one day the noticed something was different about their son.

It was a day that would change the McDougal's life forever, the day the one person they entrusted to take care of the 6 month old son broke his femur.

"She became an open book at that point and told them exactly what she did she talked about Tye's reaction how when she broke his femur..he...he went silent we went limp and silent and buried himself into her and he didn't cry," said T.J. McDougal.

According to the most recent data from in 2021 there were 36,393 reported cases of child abuse in Douglas and Sarpy County.

Project Harmony says there are many key ways to make children feel safe:

  • Talk to kids about safe and unsafe touches.
  • Frequently tell and show children in your life that you care about them.
  • If you have a reasonable suspicion that abuse is happening, you are required to report it to law enforcement.
  • If a child comes to you for help, remain calm, listen and provide the support needed.

The McDougal's say they were able to give their son Tye a voice through Project Harmony who worked with investigators by interviewing other children at the day care center.
Now, they advocate for other children that are stuck in the cycle of abuse.

"These kids most of them don't have voices and the ones that do that are old enough they still need help, they still need support," said T.J. McDougal.

The McDougals say the work with advocacy groups Like Project Harmonyto give a voice to those who don't have one.