April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and the Children’s Services Council of Broward County, in conjunction with Prevent Child Abuse Florida, reminds you that we all play a role in promoting healthy child development, supporting families, and helping prevent child abuse and neglect.
Everyone wants to provide and nurture children in a positive, healthy environment, and this is the perfect time to understand that simple actions can make a big impact to help children and families thrive. It only takes one positive, caring adult to build resilience and make a lasting positive impact in the life of a child. You don’t need special skills or abundant resources to help, you simply must be willing to reach out a helping hand.
Adverse childhood experiences, including the abuse and neglect of children, can cause severe and costly consequences for children, families, and society as a whole. The risk to our nation’s children for experiencing child abuse and neglect in times of extreme stress and uncertainty is quite high. COVID-19 has added stressors to the lives of parents and caregivers, such as loss of employment, loss of income due to lack of paid leave, school and business closings that necessitate new childcare and homeschool arrangements, and food insecurity. The social connections and community services and activities that serve as protective factors against child abuse and neglect may not exist during this unusual time.
Research shows that parents and caregivers who have support systems and know how to seek help in times of trouble are more resilient and better able to provide safe environments and nurturing experiences for their children. It is vital that individuals, businesses, schools and community organizations make children a top priority and take action to support the physical, social, emotional and educational development and competency of all children.
April is also the last month of the Annual Broward AWARE! Protecting OUR Children campaign, a four-month series of free events dedicated to strengthening families and ensuring the community knows of programs and resources that can help prevent child abuse and neglect. The blue pinwheels symbolize the Pinwheels for Prevention campaign and represent the great childhoods all children deserve and the prevention efforts that help them happen
Please remember, if you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, Florida law requires you to report it to the Florida Abuse Hotline at 1-800-96-ABUSE (1-800-962-2873). Visit http://www.preventchildabusefl.org for more information.