What is Child Abuse Prevention Month?
This is Child Abuse Prevention Month. Throughout April organizations around the United States join together to spread awareness about the realities of child abuse and help prepare people like you to help protect our kids.
Think for a moment about all the places you encounter children each day: in your neighborhood, playgrounds, grocery store, school and even your own kids’ activities.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in seven children has experienced child abuse or neglect in the past year. At that rate, it’s likely you’ve crossed paths with more than one child suffering from abusive behavior.
The America’s Kids Belong community shares a deep commitment and care for vulnerable kids. That’s why we want to help you be prepared—so you can be courageous and stand up to protect children from harm and help ensure they grow up in a safe, healthy environment.
Often times suspected abuse has been observed by a number of adults, but goes unreported for years because no one felt ‘certain enough‘ to report it or assumed that someone closer to the situation would know more and do something. Remember that when you make a report it becomes the job of the screening hotline and the investigator to determine if there has been abuse.
All of us have the ability and responsibility to take action to prevent child abuse and protect our kids.
5 Ways To Get Involved
1. Spread Awareness On Social Media
Follow America’s Kids Belong. Share our information about vulnerable kids and share information about child abuse prevention with your own thoughts about why these kids are important to you.
As an individual, you can post facts about child abuse, share resources for parents and caregivers or encourage others to become informed and willing to take action to prevent child abuse.
2. Create A Pinwheel Garden
The blue and silver pinwheel is the symbol of Child Abuse Prevention Month. Create a pinwheel garden in your front yard or in a public space (with permission) to raise awareness about child abuse prevention.
You also can purchase pinwheels online that help fund child abuse prevention.
3. Become a Foster and/or Adoptive Parent
Thousands of kids in foster care need safe and loving homes. Some of these children simply need help “for now” via foster care. Others who cannot be safely reunified with their families and are seeking adoptive families need “forever” homes, too.
Our I Belong Project elevates the faces and voices of adoption-eligible kids in foster care to help connect them with loving families. Consider becoming a foster or adoptive parent to provide a stable and nurturing environment for a child in need.
If you are interested in learning more about fostering explore the resources on our site to get started.
4. WRAP Around Foster Families
Get your church, community group, neighborhood or business to form a WRAP team to support and encourage a foster family in your area.
Check out our free resources to help you get started with a WRAP team or other support programs.
When you donate to America’s Kids Belong, you help more kids in foster care connect with supportive families, and help fund programs and resources to help families foster longer and stronger.
What To Do When You Suspect Child Abuse
- Report It: Be willing to report potential abuse. The risk to a child of not taking action outweighs the risk of a false accusation. As indicated above the experts will help to assess the actual risk. Contact the National Child Abuse Hotline (800-4-A-CHILD) for guidance on how to report.
- Provide Support: If the child is an extended family member or someone with whom you have a close relationship, help the child understand that they are not at fault and they are worthy and loved. If you are a relative, you may also be eligible to care for them as a kinship foster parent.
- Seek Help For Yourself, Too: You may find that the stress of the situation means you also need to seek help yourself. If you are struggling with the heaviness of the situation, reach out to a trusted friend, family member or a mental health professional.
- Prevent Future Abuse: Consider how you can improve your knowledge and advocacy skills. Consider attending workshops, reading more on the issue or volunteering with an organization that advocates for children and families.
If you are a mandated reporter, you are legally required by law to report your suspicions to the proper authorities. Learn more about mandated reporters and the legal responsibilities here.
If you are not a mandated reporter, contact the ChildHelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-4852 (800-4-A-CHILD).
- Prevent Child Abuse America
- Child Abuse Prevention Gateway (gov)
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention (gov)
- American Psychological Association
Kristin Allender is Executive Director of Tennessee Kids Belong, and a former social worker and child welfare advocate who has served in foster care and adoption for 15+ years,