April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

Building Community, Building Hope
 
This month and throughout the year, the Iowa Department of Human Services encourages all individuals and organizations to play a role in making our state 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 prevent child abuse and neglect by making meaningful connections with children, youth and families in our communities.
 
Research shows that protective factors are present in healthy families. Promoting these factors is among the most effective ways to reduce the risk of child abuse and neglect.
 
They are:
  • Nurturing and attachment
  • Knowledge of parenting and of child and youth development
  • Parental resilience
  • Social connections
  • Concrete supports for parents
  • Social and emotional competence of children
 
“April is a time to celebrate the important role that communities play in protecting children and strengthening families,” said Wendy Rickman, administrator of Adult, Children and Family Services. “Everyone’s participation is critical. Focusing on ways to connect with families is the best thing our community can do to strengthen families and prevent child abuse and neglect.”
 
If you know or are a family that needs parenting resources:
  • Call your local DHS office – the number can be found here. http://dhs.iowa.gov/dhs_office_locator and staff will provide you with contacts for local services, which could include parenting classes, respite services and living skills. Staff can also help families experiencing financial strain determine if they’re eligible for state assistance programs.
  • Call the United Way’s 2-1-1 service. This is a free, confidential service that connects individuals and families to community resources and services 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. 
 
If you suspect a child is being abuse or neglected:
  • The Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-362-2178 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Reporters may remain anonymous.
  • If you believe a child is in imminent danger, CALL 911 immediately.