April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. This month and throughout the year, Healthy Kids encourages all individuals and organizations to play a role in making Lincoln County a better place for children and families. By ensuring that parents have the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to care for their children, the community can help promote the social and emotional well-being of children and youth and prevent child maltreatment within families and communities.
Protective factors are the strengths and resources families draw on during difficult times to shield them from life’s stresses. Research shows that when parents possess protective factors, the risk for neglect and abuse diminish and optimal outcomes for children, youth, and families are promoted. Major protective factors include knowledge of parenting, knowledge of child development, parental resilience, social connections, and concrete supports.
“Here at Healthy Kids, we offer many programs to support parents including personalized parent coaching, classes, and support groups. Additionally, we offer concrete supports such as free cribs, food cards, Holiday Toy Give Out and community dinner/game nights at the schools,” said Leslie Livingston, executive director. “All of our programs are free and available to any Lincoln County resident.”
Healthy Kids has several events and workshops going on during April. There are lawn signs all around the county and the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office has prevention decals on their cruisers. Community members can participate in a Front Porch workshop, children and their parents/caregivers can enjoy a free breakfast at Pastries for Parents, and there are Wicked Whoopies for sale around the county to support child abuse prevention.
In support of these efforts, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau, Office on Child Abuse and Neglect, together with Child Welfare Information Gateway, and the FRIENDS National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention developed a prevention resource guide. The guide provides more information about protective factors and highlights examples of innovative prevention approaches being implemented by communities across the country.
For more information about programs and activities during the month of April, and throughout the year, call Healthy Kids at 563-1818.