By Kerry Beymer
Each April, people across the country join forces to raise awareness of the terrible tragedy of child abuse and neglect for National Child Abuse Prevention Month. At Encompass, we know that parenting can be difficult – especially when kids have challenging behaviors. Parenting is the most challenging yet most important job we do and in those challenging times parental stress runs high. Parental stress levels can be a predictor of child abuse.
There is no single known cause of child maltreatment. Nor is there any single description that captures all families in which children are victims of abuse and neglect. Child abuse occurs across all socio-economic, religious, cultural, racial, and ethnic groups. No one is immune. It must be emphasized, however, that while certain factors often are present among families where maltreatment occurs, this does not mean that the presence of these factors will always result in child abuse and neglect.
In 2011, Child Protective Services (CPS) accepted referrals for 46,636 individual children, equaling a rate of 30 per 1,000 children under age 18. Bear in mind that only a portion of child maltreatment is reported to CPS, and not all referrals are investigated.
To reduce child abuse and neglect in our community, Encompass offers a host of programing that can help decrease the parental stress and help parents sort through their children’s challenging behaviors, including:
- Developmental Screenings
- Parent Child Interaction Therapy
- Personalized parent coaching
- Mental Health Therapy for Children
- Pediatric Therapy
- Networking and support through Moms and Moms Moment (mothers of children with special needs).
Each of us can make a difference preventing child abuse and neglect. There are a few ways for you to get involved:
- Educate yourself and others about child abuse and its prevention by visiting www.childwelfare.gov or www.preventchildabuse.org.
- Build a support network by increasing your involvement in your community. Getting involved with Encompass programs, community center groups, or library programs is a good start.
- Volunteer for organizations serving children and families.
- Contribute to organizations working to prevent child abuse. At Encompass, your contribution will go a long way at helping to develop healthy children and create strong families – two critical components of child abuse prevention. To donate, click here.
With your support, we can to increase child abuse prevention efforts in our community.
To report child (or adult) abuse, call 866-ENDHARM in Washington State.