National Child Abuse Prevention Month
by Irene Barton, Cobb Collaborative Executive Director
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and the Cobb Collaborative is proud to have much of our programming align with other upstream prevention efforts. The theme for this year’s observation is “Children and Families Are Our Greatest Natural Resource” We ALL have a stake in preparing children to grow up to be healthy, thriving members of our community.
But what is “child abuse prevention?” Simply, anything that helps to strengthen families and helps children thrive. Food box giveaways, spring festivals, story times, walks to the park, prayer, out of school activities mentoring, and more. Prevent Child Abuse Georgia notes that “the prevention of child abuse and neglect cannot be achieved with one program or one strategy.” Programs that only target caregivers are shown to improve parent-child interactions, but don’t account for other root causes of maltreatment such as social isolation, poverty, community violence, and other stressors. It requires a comprehensive approach with strategies at many different levels and with multiple sectors working together. This is why our work at the Collaborative is not only in the mental health space but also in early education and civic engagement and why the collective impact of all of our efforts to improve outcomes for children and families in Cobb is critical.
Wondering how YOU can play a part in protecting and nurturing the next generation? Here are a few examples of how caring and innovative adults, can prevent child abuse and neglect or other early adversities.
- Business Leaders can promote a culture of parent support.
- Policy Makers can identify and assess which policies may positively impact the lives of children and families and reduce possible barriers to families receiving needed supports and resources.
- Faith Communities can offer space for parent and youth activities.
- Family and Youth Serving Organizations can train staff on preventing, recognizing, and responding to child abuse using the Darkness to Light: Stewards of Children, Connections Matter, Community Resilience Model trainings.
- Educators can follow-up if something seems wrong with a child and be ready to give families local resources that might help families in their district.
- Friends and Neighbors can help break the social isolation some parents may experience or encourage parents to seek support when needed by calling the 1-800-CHILDREN (244-5373) Helpline.
- Individuals can volunteer for a mentoring program. Check out Cobb Mentoring Matters and Marietta Mentoring For Leadership.