National Child Abuse Prevention Month: Looking Beyond April
- Foster Care , Latest News
- April 28, 2022
In 1983, April was proclaimed National Child Abuse Prevention month in order to recognize and focus on the importance of healthy, stable families and keeping children protected and safe from harm.
The goal is to spread awareness and encourage communities to join together in these efforts. As we move toward the close of National Child Abuse Prevention Month 2022, Let It Be Us would like to take time to share why this month is so important and why we should be thinking about it for the rest of the year too.
Positive childhoods free from abuse should be an effort we strive for year-round. Whether or not it’s recognized, the impact of maltreatment impacts all of us daily. Every year, there are 3 million reports of suspected child abuse made to the child abuse hotline, and at any given moment there are around 424,000 children in foster care placements throughout the United States. The cost of this maltreatment and the foster care situations it often warrants costs upwards of 30 billion dollars annually in the United States.
Evidence has consistently shown that what happens to children in their early lives has a fundamental effect on their development and health. The impact of abuse and neglect can result in substantially negative outcomes for children which can last for the entire trajectory of their lives. Children who grow up with stable nurturing and loving relationships and in environments free of abuse and neglect are more likely to have better mental and physical health and to succeed in their lives socially and academically. Our focus on children’s well-being, while they are young, contributes to a better outcome for everyone. Healthy families = healthy communities.
At Let It Be Us we say that “our work is done when we no longer have work.” In a perfect world, there would be no child maltreatment. All children would have safe, loving, supportive homes that allow them to thrive and celebrate who they are. Prevention of harm toward children and the stability and strength of families should always be the first goal, by supporting families and assisting them through crises in order to avoid family separation and foster care situations.
The blue pinwheel is the symbol for National Child Abuse Prevention Month. It serves as a call to action for us all to recognize the importance of happy, healthy childhoods free of abuse. Children are our future, and it is our role to be sure they are safe and well cared for. The blue pinwheel is a symbol of hope and commitment to all children. Displaying these around your home, workspace, and communities is a wonderful way to raise awareness and show commitment to children.
Families and communities can work together to keep children safe and prevent child abuse and neglect. There are many ways to become part of these efforts in your area and with others in your own communities, not only in April but year-round. Learning the signs of child abuse and neglect and how to report these is one important way to help. You can also become involved with child welfare advocacy in your area. You can also find ways to support families who are struggling or in crisis; this can be done by finding locations local to you to volunteer or offer support (you can call 1.800.CHILDREN for volunteer opportunities near you). Continuing to educate yourself and others about these topics and being a nurturing parent yourself are also substantial methods of keeping kids safe.
As we move into May let’s be sure we don’t leave keeping our children safe and healthy until next April.
How to help:
Become a Foster Parent (Let It Be Us can help!)
Become a Court Appointment Special Advocate (CASA)
Plant a pinwheel (or pinwheel garden!)
Wear a pin or ribbon
Join a campaign in your area
Work with your local library to create resources for parents
Educate yourself & others about child maltreatment
Be a nurturing parent yourself
Volunteer to support children and families
CDC References on Child Abuse & Neglect
Prevent Child Abuse Illinois’ Toolkit
Become a Court Appointment Special Advocate
About Let It Be Us
Let It Be Us is a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the landscape of foster care and adoption in Illinois. Our mission is to inspire foster care and adoption so more children in care grow up in stable, healthy homes. Funds raised will go to programs that build the strong and innovative bridge between our waiting children and foster and adoptive parents. Learn more at letitbeus.org
Vanessa comes with eight years of child welfare experience. She began working initially in foster care as a Permanency Case Worker and then moved into other positions in the field including; foster parent licensing, administration, quality assurance and risk management, and most recently in clinical social work as a Therapist and Parenting Educator for birth parents and children involved with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. She has also been a CASA advocate since May 2021. Vanessa earned a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Jane Addams College of Social Work at UIC and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with the state of Illinois. She is also a Licensed Direct Service Child Welfare Employee and is Rule 402 and Child Care Act certified. She is currently working on her Ph.D. in Clinical Social Work with the Institute of Clinical Social Work in Chicago. Vanessa is deeply passionate about child welfare and committed to improving outcomes for the safety and well-being of all children in Illinois. You can reach Vanessa here.