There is one fact that is true of all adults.
Regardless of where we grew up, the color of our skin, our political views, or what we do for a living, every one of us was once a child.
We ran, played, shouted, and laughed. And we were completely dependent on the adults in our lives to provide for us, nurture us, and help shape our future.
Unfortunately, as we all know, not all adults were provided a supportive, loving upbringing. And, regardless of economic situation, skin color, or where we grew up, abuse was occurring someplace in our hometown. Simply stated, child abuse doesn’t discriminate. As a matter of fact, a report of child abuse is made every 10 seconds in this country. In San Bernardino County alone, 31,614 child abuse reports were received in 2016.
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time to pause and consider how we can protect children in our communities. It’s easy to think that preventing child abuse is beyond our reach. But, really, the best way to protect children is to provide a safe, stable and nurturing environment.
Research shows that getting involved in the lives of children – in your home, neighborhood, or community – is an effective strategy for helping to reducing child abuse. By helping youth to develop social connections, investing in their social-emotional development, and supporting parents during stressful times, youth develop the protective factors that reduce the risk of abuse.
Nurturing your own children or grandchildren, offering a helping hand to a friend or relative, taking a breather when feeling frustrated with a child, monitoring your child’s screen time to avoid violent programs, and simply listening to children are practical ways that you can help.
There are also many opportunities to get involved with organizations focused on our community’s most at-risk children. To find local volunteer opportunities, visit www.IEUW.org/ NonprofitPartners.
If you suspect a child is being maltreated, share what you know by simply dialing 2-1-1. You might just be the voice that speaks up for someone too small to speak up on their own.