April Is National Child Abuse Prevention Month - How Can You Help

By Debbie Plummer

It’s April! We can think about spring finally arriving…. flowers blooming…. warm breezes blowing….cool showers falling….children being abused. Whoa! Something not quite right about that last thought?

You are correct. There is something very wrong about child abuse and April is the month that we try make everyone aware of the problem and what they can do to help.

April is NATIONAL CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION MONTH.

You may not realize:

  • There were over 6,000,000* confirmed cases of child abuse in the United States in 2013
  • 1,640 children died from child abuse in 2013
  • Most were under the age of 3.
  • Most were victims of neglect
  • Most were boys
  • Most deaths were caused by family members
  • Two-thirds of those in drug treatment reported being abused as a child
  • 80% of the prison population were once in foster care.
  • Within one year of aging out of foster care 66% will be homeless, in jail or die.

How can you help?
One way to help is to LEARN THE SIGNS OF CHILD ABUSE*:
The following signs may signal the presence of child abuse or neglect.

The child:

  • Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance
  • Has not received help for physical or medical problems brought to the parent’s attention
  • Has difficulty concentrating that cannot be attributed to health issues
  • Is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen
  • Lacks adult supervision
  • Is overly compliant, passive or withdrawn
  • Comes to school or other activities early, stays late, and does not want to go home
  • The Parent:
  • Shows little  concern for the child
  • Denies the existence of – or blames the child for – the child’s problems in school or at home
  • Asks teachers or other caregivers to use harsh physical discipline if the child misbehaves
  • Sees the child as entirely bad, worthless or burdensome
  • Demands a level of physical or academic performance the child cannot achieve
  • Looks primarily to the child for care, attention and satisfaction of emotional needs
  • The Parent and the Child:
  • Rarely touch or look at each other
  • Consider their relationship entirely negative
  • State that they do not like each othe

Another way to help is to TAKE ACTION:

Seek out information on child abuse. If you suspect a child is being abused there are agencies you can contact for assistance. The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with professional crisis counselors who have access to a database of 55,000 emergency, social service, and support resources. All calls are anonymous. Contact them at 1.800.4.A.CHILD (1.800.422.4453).

Seek out information on becoming a CASA , a volunteer, or a donator in your area.

In 1977, a Seattle juvenile court judge concerned about making drastic decisions with insufficient information conceived the idea of citizen volunteers speaking up for the best interests of abused and neglected children in the courtroom.

From that first program has grown a network of more than 933 CASA and guardian ad litem programs that are recruiting, training and supporting volunteers in 49 states and the District of Columbia.

In Franklin County there are currently about 300 children in foster care – about one third of these children have CASA’s that work with them. You can contact Franklin County CASA at 636-583-4422 or visit www.franklincountycasa.com to learn how you can help by donating your time, skills or funds.

And finally, you can help if you OPEN YOUR HEART TO THE PAIN THE INNOCENT CHILDREN ARE SUFFERING.

This Sunday, April 27th is the 15th Annual National Blue Sunday Day of Prayer.

Churches across the country have committed to pray for the children who are victims of child abuse, for those who rescue and serve abused children and for direction to become active participants in the battle against child abuse. Please join the over 7 million who have committed to praying this coming Sunday.

Blue Sunday Challenge:

Let’s pray, educate ourselves and volunteer
for the children of our nation
until black and blue
are just colors in their crayon box.

Don’t look away. Don’t walk away. Become the way a child is rescued.

*According to the latest Child Maltreatment Report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

**According to the Administration for Children and Families.