April is National Child Abuse Prevention month how to help

April is National Child Abuse Prevention month how to help

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

8 ways to help prevent child abuse and support good parenting* 

As you may know, April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

As the month approaches its end, we'd like to remind you to continue to do your part to prevent child abuse. In no particular order, here are eight ways.

Spread the word-Use your platform and voice to speak out and against child abuse. Use your platform to get people more interested in what child abuse is and what it looks like. 

If you are talking to family members or foster or adoptive families, parents, birth parents support groups of children in foster care or social workers even an individual adoptive parent.  The more you reach out the more protection a child has from being abused or neglected in the future.  Most private agencies have great education material s they would love to share with you. 

Provide Resources-We aren't saying that you have to be the leading advocate against child abuse or take it up as your sole purpose and focus in life, but it does take a village. In you being a part of the village, any and everything that you can provide can help. Providing resources, access, and sharing information on resources will help others prevent child abuse. 

Educate Yourself, and Learn about/identify Protective Factors that Help Prevent- According to www.childwelfare.gov. Protective factors are conditions that, when present in families and communities, increase the well-being of children and families and reduce the likelihood of maltreatment. Identifying protective factors helps parents/caregivers find resources, supports, or coping strategies that allow them to parent even under stress.

There are six protective factors: Nurturing and attachment, knowledge of parenting and child and youth development, Parental resilience, Social connections, Concrete support for parents, and Social and emotional competence of children.] Educating yourself by getting involved in after-school activities, parent education classes, mentoring programs, etc., are also ways to help you keep children safe from harm.

Volunteer your time- Get involved in your community. If able, be present. Let the children know that you are there and that you care. Your positive presence alone will mean the world to a child and can be a preventative measure as well. 

Teach children their rights-If children know what their rights are, they will be able to advocate for themselves. If they know their rights, they can be more vocal and know when something is wrong. When children are taught they are unique and have the right to be safe, they are less likely to think abuse is their fault and more likely to report an offender.

Know what child abuse is The Washington State site states that "Physical and sexual abuse constitute maltreatment, but so does neglect, or the failure of parents or other caregivers to provide a child with needed food, clothing, and care. Children can also be emotionally abused when they are rejected, criticized, or isolated."

Know the signs-What comes to mind when you think about what constitutes child abuse? A few signs to watch for are depression, fear of a specific adult, or difficulty trusting others or making friends. Also, sudden changes in eating or sleeping patterns, negative sexual behavior, poor hygiene, secrecy, and hostility are often signs of family problems. They may indicate a child is being neglected or physically, sexually, or emotionally abused. 

Report abuse-If you witness a child being harmed or see evidence of abuse, make a report to your state's child protective services department or local police. When talking to a child about abuse, listen carefully, assure the child that he or she did the right thing by telling an adult, and affirm that he or she is not responsible for what happened.

At FosterVA and Extra Special Parents, we are all about child abuse prevention; every minute of the day. Though this is the recognized month to acknowledge child abuse prevention, I encourage you to become galvanized to do your part to contribute to the prevention of child abuse. Let's ALL continue to invest in our children because, indeed, our children are the future. 

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