April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. This month and throughout the year, Linn County Sheriff Bruce Riley encourages all individuals and organizations to play a role in making Linn County a better place for children and families. By ensuring that parents have the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to care for their children, we can help prevent child abuse and neglect by making meaningful connections with children, youth and families in our communities.
Research shows that protective factors are present in healthy families. Promoting these factors is among the most effective ways to reduce the risk of child abuse and neglect. They are:
- Nurturing and attachment
- Knowledge of parenting and of child and youth development
- Parental resilience
- Social connections
- Concrete supports for parents
- Social and emotional competence of children
“April is a time to celebrate the important role that communities play in protecting children and strengthening families,” said Sheriff Bruce Riley. “Everyone’s participation is critical. Focusing on ways to connect with families is the best thing our community can do to strengthen families and prevent child abuse and neglect.”
The theme for this year’s National Child Abuse Prevention Month is “Building Community, Building Hope.” Communities have a great influence in families’ lives. Just as plants are more likely to thrive in a garden with good soil and plenty of sunlight and water, families are more likely to thrive in nurturing communities. Everyone can get involved and play a role in preventing child abuse and neglect and promoting child and family well-being. Strong, nurturing communities that are supportive of families can build and strengthen families. This section provides information on getting involved to strengthen your community and the families in your community.
Get involved to strengthen your community!
- Meet and greet your neighbors.
- Go to a parents meeting at your child’s school.
- Participate in an activity at your local library or community center.
- Set up a playgroup in your community at people’s homes or local park (consider inviting people who may not have children at home, like local seniors).
- Organize a community babysitting co-op.
- Volunteer at your child’s school through the school’s administration or the parent’s organization.
- Encourage local service providers to produce a directory of available services that are easy to find in the community.
- Organize a community event (a block party, father/daughter dance, parent support group)
- Run for an office in the parent organization at your child’s school.
- Attend local government meetings (city council or school board meetings) and let them know how important resources are in your community. Let them know how parks, strong schools, and accessible services help to strengthen your family and other families.
In support of these efforts, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Children’s Bureau, Office on Child Abuse and Neglect, its Child Welfare Information Gateway, the FRIENDS National Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention and over 30 National Prevention Partners have created 2016 Prevention Resource Guide: Building Community, Building Hope. The resource guide, designed for service providers who work throughout the community to strengthen families, is available online at https://childwelfare.com/topics/preventing/preventionmonth/resource-guide/
For more information about child abuse prevention programs and activities during the month of April and throughout the year, follow the Linn County Child Abuse Network on Facebook.