April 1st is known as April Fool’s Day. A day to play funny jokes on your friends or make hilarious false statements to shock your friends only later to scream “April Fools”! April 1st also kicks off National Child Abuse Awareness Month which is no joke at all.
Did you know that nearly 10,000 cases of child abuse go unreported each year? Many of which escalate to the unmentionable. The unnecessary death of an infant or child.
Children of neglect and child abuse suffer emotional and psychological trauma. The effects of neglect and child abuse manifest in many ways including self mutilation, depression, aggression, and violence. Many victims of child abuse grow to abuse their own children, become drug or alcohol dependent, and are incarcerated at an early age.
According to the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services child abuse and neglect is defined as:
Child abuse is the mistreatment of a child under the age of 18 by:
A parent or their romantic partner;
An immediate relative or someone living in their home;
A caretaker such as a babysitter or daycare worker; or
Any person responsible for the child’s welfare, such as a health care provider, educator, coach or youth program volunteer.
The mistreatment can either result in injury or put the child at serious risk of injury. Child abuse can be physical (i.e. bruises or broken bones), sexual (i.e. fondling or incest), or mental (emotional injury or psychological illness).
Neglect is the failure of a parent or caretaker to meet “minimal parenting” standards for providing adequate supervision, food, clothing, medical care, shelter or other basic needs.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time to recognize that we each play a part in promoting the social and emotional well-being of children and families in our communities. By ensuring that parents have the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to care for their children, we can help promote children’s social and emotional well-being and prevent child maltreatment within.
According to childwelfare.gov:
Research shows that when parents possess six protective factors, the risk for neglect and abuse
diminish and optimal outcomes for children, youth, and families are promoted. The six protective
• Nurturing and attachment
• Knowledge of parenting and of child and youth development
• Parental resilience
• Social connections
• Concrete supports for parents
• Social and emotional developmental well-being
If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected please call the 24-hour Child Abuse Hotline at 800-25-ABUSE (800-252-2873 or TTY 1-800-358-5117). If you believe a child is in immediate danger of harm, call 911 first. Your confidential call will not only make sure the child is safe, but also help provide the child’s family the services they need to provide a safe, loving and nurturing home.
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