April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and this year’s theme, in partnership with Prevent Child Abuse America is “Help Great Childhoods Happen this April.”
All children deserve safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments. Unfortunately, some children are subjected to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), defined as traumatic events occurring before age 18 that include all types of abuse and neglect. Often this abuse co -occurs with the presence of such risk factors as parental mental illness, substance use, divorce, incarceration, and domestic violence.
Research about the lifelong impact of ACEs underscores the urgency of community prevention activities to protect children from exposure to these and other early traumas. A focus on reducing ACEs not only helps prevent child maltreatment, it produces healthier outcomes for children and families and saves costs down the road.
Research also tells us that many people in the community are already playing a pivotal role in preventing child abuse and may not even realize it! Some of these actions include:
- Donating goods, services, time or money to organizations that support children;
- Volunteering with children in schools, churches, sports or academic clubs;
- Mentoring a new parent or providing support with child care, meals or clothing and
- Advocating for federal and state policies that support the healthy development of children and grow strong families.
Efforts such as these bring communities together, reduce isolation, and foster positive growth and development. Remember that each of you has the ability to help children and families in our neighborhoods and your efforts do make a difference! Join me in supporting the next generation of leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs!