April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

In 1983 Congress declared April National Child Abuse Prevention month to bring awareness to programs designed to prevent crimes against children and recognize victims of abuse. Child Abuse Prevention month is also a good time to review how you can play a part in promoting the social and emotional well-being of children in your community.

Support resiliency in children. Today’s families, especially our children, are under tremendous stress with the potential to damage both physical health and psychological well-being. Raising resilient children, however, is possible and can provide them with the tools they need to respond to the challenges of adolescence and young adulthood. In today’s environment, children and teens need to develop strengths, acquire skills to cope, recover from hardships, and be prepared for future challenges. They need to be resilient in order to succeed in life. There is no simple answer to guarantee resilience in every situation. But we can challenge ourselves to help our children develop the ability to negotiate their own challenges and to be more resilient, more capable, and happier.

Seek help when caring for children. Parenting is a difficult job, and all parents get frustrated at times. It is common for parents to have feelings of anger, fear, or helplessness while caring for children. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, parents are more likely to use aversive techniques when they are angry or irritable, depressed, fatigued and stressed. By learning how to manage and cope with these challenges, parents can be safe and effective caregivers for their children. Parents can also call the Parental Stress Line 24/7 at 1-800-632-8188. Parents experiencing violence at the hands of their partner can also call the statewide domestic violence hotline at (888) 774-2900 (English) or (844) 831-9200 (Spanish).

Know the definitions and warning signs of child abuse. Sometimes child abuse looks different than people expect. Child abuse and neglect can present in many different ways, making it difficult at times to recognize abuse. Also, sometimes the warning signs of child abuse can be subtle, and can be vary depending on the child. This resource can help people understand the different types of child abuse and neglect, and provides helpful tips on identifying warning signs.

Report suspected cases of child abuse and neglect to state Child Protective Services Reporting Hotline. In Connecticut, the Department for Children and Families (DCF) is responsible for ensuring the safety and welfare of children in our community. Anyone with any suspicion of child abuse or neglect can file a report at any time by calling the Connecticut DCF Careline at 1-800-842-2288. You may find this guide helpful for more information on reporting to DCF.

Looking for other ways to get involved or help spread the word? Visit this website for helpful tips, resource materials and a calendar of local events.