April is Child Abuse Prevention Month!

by Danielle C. Davis, Esq.

Despite the fact that child abuse can be a difficult – and often painful – topic to discuss, the national dialogue regarding child abuse, mental health, and the long term effects of childhood trauma has been steadily increasing since the 1970’s. Following the development of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act of 1974 (CAPTA), multiple State and Federal agencies have worked hard to raise awareness, promote research, and engage with communities to help reduce the number of children who are neglected and abused.

In 1983, April was proclaimed the first National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and many successful child abuse initiatives have followed. In 2015, thirteen “mini-grants” were awarded by Denver Human Services to a variety of Colorado charities and programs that help to prevent child abuse and neglect from ever occurring.

This year, the national theme for Child Abuse Prevention Month has been designated as “Building Communities, Building Hope.” This theme was selected in recognition of the importance of a nurturing community in preventing child abuse and neglect, and seeks to promote public involvement on this issue. Below is a list from the official Child Abuse Prevention Month website of some steps, both big and small, that you can take to get involved and strengthen your own community:

Baby steps

  • Meet and greet your neighbors.
  • Go to a parents’ meeting at your child’s school.
  • Participate in an activity at your local library or community center.

Small steps

  • Set up a playgroup in your community at people’s homes or local park (consider inviting people who may not have children at home, like local seniors).
  • Organize a community babysitting co-op.
  • Volunteer at your child’s school through the school’s administration or the parent’s organization.
  • Encourage local service providers to produce a directory of available services that are easy to find in the community.

Big steps

  • Organize a community event (a block party, father/daughter dance, parent support group)
  • Run for an office in the parents’ organization at your child’s school.
  • Attend local government meetings (city council or school board meetings) and let them know how important resources are in your community. Let them know how parks, strong schools, and accessible services help to strengthen your family and other families.

 

 

Finally, if you are in need of assistance, or have observed or suspect child abuse, please call 1-844-CO-4-KIDS (1-844-264-5437).

Call 911 IMMEDIATELY if it is an emergency or you are witnessing a child in a life-threatening situation.

If you wish to learn more about the topic of child abuse, and how to help, please call or visit the following resources: