April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time to recognize that we can each play a part in promoting the social and emotional well-being of children and families in our communities and protecting our children.
In Africa, when the hunters come back to their villages, the first thing they say in greeting is, “How are the children?”
Our children should be our greatest concern, yet there are thousands of children every year who are abused, neglected, and sometimes fatally injured.
“There is no better thing we can strive for than to keep children safe.” So stated Esterlee Molyneux, executive director of the Child and Family Support Center of Cache County, in an article in the Herald Journal this week.
How are our children in Utah? Molyneux goes on to say that “every 38 minutes, a child in Utah is abused or neglected. Of those, 42 percent of victims are 5 or under.”
The Child and Family Support Center in Logan strives to strenthen families and protect children through their crisis hotline, respite nursery, parent/child eduation classes and community activities. They offer representatives who will come to your community group to talk about parenting strategies, personal empowerment, community awareness and child abuse prevention.
Any child can be at risk; abuse is not always something that is immediately evident. That is why it is important to become aware of the signs of abuse and neglect and then know where and when to report them. The Utah Department of Human Services, Child and Family Services web site provides information about what signs to look for with a child, and a number to call to report a suspected abusive situation.
There are many local, state, and national organizations that are there to help keep our children safe. This month, become aware of the prevention organizations in your community and state. Become involved. Support programs that prevent abuse and strengthen families.
As the Prevent Child Abuse Utah web site states, “We don’t have to be Super Heroes to prevent child abuse.” We just have to be aware, report suspected abuse, and support the programs that work 24/7 to keep our children safe.