April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month
April 24, 2012
The statistics are sobering. According to a recent report by the
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
approximately 695,000 children were victims of maltreatment in 2010;
more than 80% of those victims were maltreated by a parent; and
children younger than 1 year had the highest rate of victimization.
Adult survivors of child maltreatment are more likely to have a poor quality of life, with higher levels of chronic diseases and mental health issues, than non-abused adults. “Childhood exposure to abuse and neglect has been linked…to a lifetime trajectory of violence perpetration and victimization,” says Dr. Phaedra Corso of the University of Georgia’s College of Public Health (
Prevent Child Abuse America, 2012
). Child abuse can be a vicious circle, and some families under stress need support to help break the pattern of abuse.
Now in its 30
National Child Abuse Prevention Month
is a time to encourage public awareness of child abuse and neglect, recommit resources to the cause, and promote involvement through national, state, and local activities.
Potential Early Indicators
The prevalence of child abuse and its long-term consequences—not only for the child but also for society as a whole—clearly demonstrates why prevention is so important. An early indicator that a family may be at risk for child abuse is high levels of parenting stress, and research has clearly demonstrated that parenting stress is positively correlated to child abuse potential (
Rodriguez & Green, 1997
“Parenting stress is a universal phenomenon that all parents experience to one degree or another,” explains Dr. Richard Abidin, emeritus professor of clinical and school psychology at the University of Virginia and author of the newly revised
Parenting Stress Index™ (PSI™-4)
. “What we have learned is that high levels of stress relate to a variety of dysfunctional parenting behaviors and negative child outcomes. Screening for and evaluating the sources of parenting stress allow for the implementation of prevention and early intervention in both primary health care and education systems.”
More Resources on Child Abuse Prevention and Parenting
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’
Child Welfare Information Gateway
is an excellent starting point for information on preventing child abuse and neglect.
Prevent Child Abuse America
is a nonprofit organization dedicated to building awareness, providing education, and inspiring hope to everyone involved in the effort to prevent the abuse and neglect of children. Information about PCA state chapters, as well as advocacy, research, conferences, and events, can be found on their Web site.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s
Division of Violence Prevention
Web site includes a wealth of information on child maltreatment prevention, including data and statistics, risk and protective factors, and prevention strategies.
An excellent source of general parenting information for sharing with families, the
Child Development Institute
offers strategies and tips on topics such as “Parenting 101,” socialization for kids and teens, parent-child communication, single parenting, divorce, and more.
What special programs or events are happening in your community to recognize National Child Abuse Prevention Month? Leave a comment and join the conversation!
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PAR Supports National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day
May 8, 2014 is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. Sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), PAR is proud to be a supporter of this national event. National launch activities will be held during the National Council for Behavioral Health annual conference at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center near Washington, DC. Registration for the Awareness Day general session and the “What Really Works for Young Adults: A Candid Conversation” workshop is free. Even if you are not going to be in Washington, DC for the event, you can show your support during one of the many local events taking place throughout the country that promote the importance of caring for every child’s mental health. You can also tune into the live Webcast of the national launch event on May 6 from 1:45 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. EDT. Awareness Day focuses on positive mental health and its important relationship to a child’s healthy development. More than 1,100 communities and 136 national organizations are collaborating to make this year’s event bigger and better than ever.
National Alcohol Screening Day is April 7
Approximately 14 million Americans have alcohol disorders. As prevalent as the disorder is, much can be done to assist those who are dependent on alcohol, and their loved ones. In 1999, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration partnered to create a community-based intervention to target alcohol abuse: National Alcohol Screening Day (NASD). Screening is held annually on the first Thursday of the first full week of April. For 2016, screening will be held on April 7. NASD’s objectives include: Educating the public on the effect of alcohol on overall health Administering anonymous, free alcohol screenings to the public Providing referrals for those whose screening determined their drinking is at an unhealthy level Thousands of organizations nationwide offer either on-site and online screenings to college students, military personnel, and the general public. Each organization receives the appropriate resources to help them conduct the program, such as videos, posters, educational handouts, and screening forms. On ...
PAR Honors National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day
On May 9, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) held a virtual event in honor of National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. The event focused on telling the stories of young adults who have had substance abuse or mental health issues and have developed ways to overcome their challenges. This is an especially important group for SAMHSA to focus on, as nearly 30 percent of young adults ages 16 to 24 years have had a mental health condition in the past year. PAR was a proud sponsor of this important event. Watch the virtual event, visit SAMHSA online, or comment below to get involved!
May is National Mental Health Awareness Month
In 1949, Mental Health Month was founded to bring attention to the importance of mental health issues in America. President Barack Obama issued a decree on April 30 in honor of this month. He stressed the idea that people should reach out if they feel they are in need of help. “For many, getting help starts with a conversation,” he stated. “People who believe they may be suffering from a mental health condition should talk about it with someone they trust and consult a health care provider. As a nation, it is up to all of us to know the signs of mental health issues and lend a hand to those who are struggling. Shame and stigma too often leave people feeling like there is no place to turn. We need to make sure they know that asking for help is not a sign of weakness -- it is a sign of strength.” Furthermore, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius released a statement emphasizing how everyone has a role in building awareness. “All of us – including teachers, parents, ...
Now available: Two trauma screening forms for children!
For children, experiencing a traumatic event—such as physical or sexual abuse, neglect, victimization by a peer, the death of a parent, witnessing a violent act, experiencing a natural disaster, and more—can have devastating and lasting psychological effects. According to the National Children’s Alliance, child abuse victims experience trauma symptoms like fear, sleep disturbances, anxiety, and depression at rates verging on those experienced by war veterans. In addition, they are more likely to perform poorly in school, have behavior problems at home, and, left untreated, have poor long-term mental and physical health. Getting these children the help and healing they need has historically relied on the results of a forensic interview. However, clinical intake evaluation results can vary based on the clinician’s training and experience, and the time involved in administering and scoring standardized tests often precludes their use in settings like children’s advocacy centers, which see large numbers of children in relatively short periods of time. The Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children (TSCC) Screening Form and Trauma Symptom Checklist for Young Children (TSCYC) Screening Form were developed based on ...
Reading to Infants and Young Children Important in Developing Reading Motivation
This week’s blog was contributed by PAR Author Adele Eskeles Gottfried, PhD. Dr. Gottfried is the author of the Children’s Academic Intrinsic Motivation Inventory (CAIMI). The study she describes in this blog is part of a broader investigation in which she examines the importance of home environment and parental stimulation on the development of children’s academic intrinsic motivation. In a longitudinal study spanning 28 years, new research just published in Parenting: Science and Practice examined the long-term effect of children’s home literacy environment during infancy and early childhood on their subsequent reading intrinsic motivation and reading achievement from childhood through adolescence and their educational attainment during adulthood. This type of motivation, which is the enjoyment or pleasure inherent in the activity of reading, is found to relate to various aspects of children’s literacy behaviors. Literacy environment was assessed from infancy through preschool using the amount of time mothers read to their children and the number of books and reading materials in the home. Analyzing the data using a statistical model, the study examined literacy environment as it related to children’s reading ...
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