April was first declared Child Abuse Prevention Month by presidential proclamation in 1983. Since then, April has been a time to acknowledge the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse. In Child Maltreatment 2012 (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children's Bureau) it was reported that in FFY 2012 in the fifty states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, an estimated 678,810 children were victims of child abuse; and 1,640 children died as a result of abuse or neglect. The majority of child abuse cases stemmed from situations and conditions that can be preventable when community programs and systems are engaged and supportive. A community that cares about early childhood development, parental support, and maternal mental health, for instance, is more likely to foster nurturing families and healthy children.
A body of research has identified factors known to prevent and reduce child abuse and neglect. These factors—including parental resilience, nurturing and attachment, social connections, knowledge about parenting and child development, social and emotional competence of children, and concrete supports for parents—are outlined in Preventing Child Maltreatment and Promoting Well-Being: A Network for Action 2014 Resource Guide, also developed by the Children's Bureau.
There are many agencies in our county that work to protect children and support families. Through The Child Abuse Prevention Council at Cope Family Center, these organizations collaborate to educate the community and provide programs and services that have lasting, positive impacts.