We all have a role to play in preventing child neglect. All children deserve to grow up healthy, happy and cared for.
Preventing neglect helps ensure a healthy future for children and our community. All too often, neglect goes unnoticed. It gets less attention that other types of abuse and it can be harder to see and to stop.
But not giving a child basic care, protection or attention can be just as harmful as hitting or shaking a child. In fact, more children are hurt from neglect than any other type of abuse.
Neglect hurts everyone. Neglected children often have learning problems, low self-esteem, physical, emotional, or speech problems, and trouble getting along with other children. These effects can lead to long-term problems that impact the whole community such as criminal, violent or angry behavior, difficulty in trusting others and forming relationships, alcohol or other drug use problems, mental illness, or ongoing health problems.
One common misunderstanding is that neglect means a lack of love for a child. But this is not the case. Often there are other issues at play that affect a parent's ability to care for a child. These may include personal problems, lack of parenting skills, financial stress, or alcohol or other drug abuse. To prevent child neglect, parents need help to overcome these challenges.
The key is support for parents and families. With support, everyone can improve their parenting skills and knowledge. For example, some parents may need:
Affordable child care so they can go to school or find a better job
Counseling for personal problems or alcohol or other drug use
Parenting classes to learn how to best care for their children and deal with challenging behavior.
A caring community can make a world of difference. Every sector of society can make an impact in preventing neglect by reaching out to parents and caregivers to help them overcome their challenges. This can be done through schools, child care providers, parent support groups, home visiting programs, religious organizations, health care providers, mental health and substance abuse treatment programs, and even police officers. A community that works together knows no limits as to how to find creative ways to support parents who are struggling.
And from time to time, every parent just needs a friend to talk to. Individuals can make a difference too, everyone has something valuable to offer. Start by taking care of yourself and your own family, but also support other parents in your life. Be kind to children, all children, you never know what they are experiencing at home. Give what you can when you can: become a mentor, volunteer at a school or resource center, donate money or items where needed, or become a foster parent. Getting active in your community is a way to help support local parents and families, and in this way everyone is encouraged to realize that prevention is a shared responsibility.
Child neglect is preventable. and preventing it is a shared responsibility. Working together, we can all help give parents and caregivers the support and tools they need to handle situations that often lead to neglect.
It's true that parents can't meet every need all all the time. But the signs of neglect should never be ignored. If you feel a child in your life is experiencing neglect or abuse please reach out to help that child. If you think a child is at risk, we encourage you to call our local Child Protective Services, their goal is keep families together, but would never want a child to remain in a dangerous environment, (209) 223-6550. And for general questions or more information you can call us here at Child Abuse Prevention Council, (209) 223-5921.
To learn more about preventing and responding to neglect contact Prevent Child Abuse America. For other resources to support families and children visit these websites:
This article has been adapted from a handout from Prevent Child Abuse America.
Mini-Grants Now Available!
We are excited to announce that funding is available for Family Strengthening mini-grant proposals for the 2018-19 fiscal year. Mini-grants will be awarded up to $2,000. Funding is provided by the Amador Child Abuse Prevention Council (ACAPC).
Grants are available for qualified organizations and agencies to provide Family Strengthening programs within the County of Amador.
Family Strengthening is the premise that children do well when families do well, and that families do well when they live in supportive communities. Enhancing connections within families, and between families, and the institutions that affect them, result in better outcomes for children and their families.
The second Thursday of every month, from 10:00am - 12:00pm, the Child Abuse Prevention Council is holding free mandated reporter trainings. Open to parents, child care providers, teachers, the community, staff or colleagues needing a refresher course, or new staff with no previous training, give us a call, (209) 223-5921. For the flyer with all the information, click HERE.
All children know how they are valued; all families receive the support, education and tools necessary to give every child a safe, healthy, and nurturing home; and a community that actively supports the health, safety, and education of its children.
CAPC is committed to preventing all forms of child abuse in Amador County through community partnerships, free trainings, education, and family-centered events that value children, strengthen families, and engage communities.
Investing in Our Youngest Children
Stay up to date on all the latest news and information for the youngest children in our county! Sign up for First 5 Amador's monthly e-newsletter HERE!
Child Abuse Prevention Council of Amador, Mail: PO Box 815, Jackson, CA 95642,Location: 975 Broadway,Jackson, CA 95642