National Child Abuse Prevention Month recognizes the importance of families and communities working together to focus on growing stronger support systems that lend to creating thriving families. Prevention of child abuse and neglect is possible when we learn how to recognize risks, incorporate protective factors to keep children safe, and work with families, neighborhoods, schools, communities, and states to strengthen families and promote well-being. Child Abuse Prevention Month was created because child abuse and neglect was both widespread and too often invisible. Our children are our future and need a safe, stable, and nurturing environment as that can have a proven positive effect on brain development. Research shows that children who suffer from the prolonged stress of abuse and neglect tend to struggle in their behavioral, physical, and cognitive abilities. The effects of early trauma tend to continue through generations. In contrast, experiencing support in early childhood can prevent or even reverse the damaging effects of early life stress, with lifelong benefits for a young person’s learning, behavior, and health. Whatever seeds have been planted, or not planted, will affect a person’s health, ability to learn, and ultimately, earning power.
Together we must work collaboratively to increase awareness and collectively act to ensure that when we see something, that we say something. Strengthening the protective capacities of parents helps children and families thrive and prevents child maltreatment. There is a Path to Wellness, visit CYFD to learn more.