Special to 1812Blockhouse
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. This month and throughout the year, Richland County Children Services (RCCS) encourages all individuals and organizations to play a role in making our community a better place for children and families. By ensuring that parents have the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to care for their children, we can help promote the social and emotional well-being of children and youth and prevent child maltreatment within families in our community.
To help spread awareness for child abuse prevention, Richland County Children Services (RCCS) is inviting individuals, churches, organizations, businesses and schools to tie a blue ribbon on their door, mailbox, or car antenna during the month of April.
The blue ribbon is the international symbol for child abuse prevention. It serves as a reminder that all of us have a responsibility in helping protect children.
In support of this effort, downtown Mansfield is going “blue” in April. The city is tying blue ribbons around lamp posts, and the downtown gazebo in Central Park will be lit with blue lights in honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month.
This year’s theme for Richland County Children Services is “Making a Difference Together.” The most important thing we can do to help children thrive is to support families before they reach a crisis.
“Each year, we educate and raise awareness about the impact child abuse has on children and society. Providing information about comprehensive best-practices that are known to build parental capacity through protective factors is key in helping families become more resilient. To make child abuse less likely to occur, we need to invest in our community and our families,” said Brigitte Coles, RCCS Community Engagement Specialist.
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.
National Child Abuse Prevention Month is more than just raising awareness about the reality of child maltreatment. It’s about taking action to reduce it. RCCS is helping to reduce abuse and neglect by providing our families with the support they need. There are certain issues such as a family’s neighborhood, income level, or other societal factors that can make parenting more challenging. By reducing these vulnerabilities through strengths-based approaches that truly support families, we can begin to mitigate child maltreatment and improve the outcomes of children, youth, and families.
For more information about child abuse prevention programs and activities go to richlandcountychildrenservices.org. Please call the Richland County Children Services 24-hour child abuse hotline at 419-774-4100 to report child abuse and neglect.