April is Child Abuse Prevention Month-
COMMIT TO PREVENT!
April, Child Abuse Prevention Month, is devoted to celebrating everything we can do to transform our community into a place that cares about – and actively supports - families and children. The goal of this month is to raise awareness of the issue of child abuse and neglect as well as celebrate families.
The community of faith has a role to be sanctuaries of safety and protection for all. Scripture teaches the church of our responsibility to God in caring for the vulnerable (Matthew 18:5 & 6, Luke 18: 16 & 17, James 1:27). Children and their caregivers especially need support and advocacy to know they are safe, protected, loved and cared for. Below are specific ways the church and individuals can support families and help prevent child abuse. Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky, the only statewide child abuse prevention organization, can be contacted at 859-225-8879 or www.pcaky.org for additional information.
The Church can be a powerful tool when you “Commit to Prevent.” Effective strategies for churches to support families and help prevent child abuse include:
Host an awareness event, resource fair, or set aside a Sunday to pray for victims of child abuse and those who rescue them. http://www.bluesunday.org/
Resources for establishing policies and procedures:
Train leaders, volunteers and parents to recognize the signs and symptoms of abuse and neglect
Start a support group to facilitate community and friendship among parents.
Provide mentoring programs for new parents, young adults and teenagers.
Respond to family crises. Offer extra support to families when they need it, as in times of illness, job loss, housing problems and other stressors. Link families to community services and opportunities.
Develop ways for parents to gain information on parenting issues. Host parenting classes, provide parenting books and resources, as well as distribute parenting tip sheets. Place child abuse prevention materials and parenting resources in high traffic areas of your facilities.
Organize a “Baby Supplies” drive/shower
Partner with local foster care programs
YOU can be a powerful tool when you “Commit to Prevent.” Effective strategies to support families and help prevent child abuse include:
Educate your friends, family, organization and community on how to report child abuse and neglect when they suspect a child is in danger.
Encourage parents and caregivers. Tell them they are doing a good job! Point out the positive!
Offer to assist with transportation to and from activities.
Know a parent with a new baby? Offer a parent a break. Take the baby for a walk, offer to watch the children to let mom or dad take a shower or go to the grocery or have a few minutes to herself or himself. Offer to bring over a meal.
Offer to be a time-out resource. Let a parent know that it is ok to feel frustrated and when they do, they can call you to come and hold the baby while they take a time out.
Encourage parents to remove themselves from situations that become volatile and to take a time out before confronting difficult situations. Let them know it is ok to feel frustrated and it is ok to ask for help.
Be a respite. Do you know a family who could simply use some extra support in the midst of high stress situations? Offer relief to babysit or care for children an afternoon, evening, or a few days.
Donate your time and resources to enhance child abuse prevention programs that help give every child the opportunity to not only imagine a world without abuse, but make it reality.
Tell parents about 1-800-CHILDREN (resource and referral helpline) and other local community resources (parenting classes, mothers of preschoolers programs, parent’s night out).
Conduct a used ink cartridges or used cell phones drive and give them to Prevent Child Abuse KY towards fundraising for prevention programs.
Host a party for prevention. Host a fun gathering to raise money for prevention efforts.
Stay informed about how to locate local resources and referral services available to families, and share those resources with others!
Resources are made available through Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky’s online information center at www.pcaky.org, or you may call 859-225-8879 to learn more about how you can “Commit to Prevent.”
If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, you must make a report to 1-877-KYSAFE1 (1-877-597-2331).