It’s been 40 years since former President Richard Nixon signed the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act.
Child abuse is still a major concern and, each year, the month of April is recognized as National Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month, a time to acknowledge the importance of families and communities working together and learning to prevent child abuse and neglect, and to promote the social and emotional well-being of children and families.
“This is a time when we focus on this really important issue,” said Michelle McLoughlin, D-M Family Advocacy Outreach manager. “We try and think of ways that it can be avoided and prevented and hopefully be proactive instead of reactive because an ounce of prevention goes a long way.”
Types of child abuse include physical, emotional, sexual and neglect.
“A lot of times, neglect is woven in with all types of child abuse,” McLoughlin said. “It can be just as bad, but often goes undetected.”
Research has identified factors known to prevent and reduce child abuse and neglect. Some of these factors include parental resilience, social connections, knowledge about parenting and child development, and concrete supports for parents.
“It all ties back to making meaningful connections, because in this kind of community, red flags come from picking your head up, looking around and being aware,” said Amy Owen, Family Advocacy Program assistant. “Be willing to speak up if you see abusive situations.”
Family Advocacy will hold an open house event at the Soaring Heights Welcome Center, April 1, 3-5 p.m. Those in attendance can pick up blue ribbons to put on trees, learn about child abuse warning signs and learn about ways to make a difference.
“Don’t wait till it’s too late, start making meaningful connections with your kids, your partner, your neighbors and your community now,” McLoughlin said.
Call Davis Monthan Family Advocacy at 228-2104 to find out more about child abuse prevention in your community or visit their Facebook page.