Child Abuse Prevention Month, held each April, helps raise awareness about physical, emotional, and sexual abuse of children and child neglect. Unfortunately, every year in the U.S., millions of reports of suspected child abuse are filed, with children subject to abuse where they live, play, and learn, often by someone they know such as a family member.
Signs of Child Abuse and Neglect
It is important to be aware of possible signs of child abuse or neglect, which may include physical abuse resulting in unexplained injuries; nervousness or fear around certain adults; sudden or extreme changes in behavior or school performance; or a reluctance to go home. Signs of neglect – a failure to meet a child’s basic needs – may include missing multiple days of school, lack of hygiene, chronic hunger, and statements indicating there is no one providing care at home.
Protective Factors to Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect
There are a number of protective factors that a community can employ to build healthy children and strong families, the first step in preventing abuse and neglect.
- Help parents and caregivers appreciate their strengths and build on those strengths to solve difficulties they may face. Modeling or sharing stories of resiliency – an ability to bounce back – can inspire parents to do their best.
- Get behind community sponsored events that offer families a social connection and a place where parents and children can bond while having fun.
- Share effective parenting techniques and direct parents to other parenting resources that offer needed information and support.
- Sometimes just listening is enough. Other times, concrete support can help parents in a pinch. Offers such as babysitting, picking up needed groceries, or a ride to work if a parent’s car is not working can make the difference for a family.
- Helping children to grow socially and emotionally in every day interactions can go a long way. Encouraging the taking of turns, sharing, and the expression of feelings can help children build social and emotional competence and confidence that make families strong.
Unfortunately, too many children suffer from abuse and neglect in their home every year. There may be situations where a guardian can step in on a temporary basis if the parents are unable to care for a child and need time to resolve their issues. Others times parental rights may be terminated in cases of serious abuse and neglect and a relative may wish to pursue permanent guardianship or adoption. It is important to work with an experienced family law attorney who can help you explore your options regarding the guardianship of a child. Contact Probst Law Offices S.C. at 414-210-3135 for immediate assistance.