Since 1983, April has been recognized as National Child Abuse Prevention Month in the United States. 40 years later, we continue to come together in communities all over America to bring awareness to this heartbreaking issue. In Georgia alone, over 18,000 children came through the foster care system in 2020. While preventing child abuse can feel like a monumental task, there are steps that we can take to tackle the problem. Here are four ways you can get involved this month to help prevent child abuse.
Educating ourselves on what child abuse looks like, how abuse occurs, and what is necessary to stop it is the first critical step in prevention. Children are vulnerable and may not have the power to end their abuse—but we can. Knowledge truly is power.
Childhelp is a great place to start. They have multiple resources including
- Child abuse statistics
- Advocacy resources
- Age appropriate books
Training sessions are also available if you’re looking to educate more than just yourself. Darkness to Light (D2L) training sessions provide evidence-informed prevention instruction that teaches adults the facts about child abuse. The program focuses on minimizing opportunities for abuse to occur and teaching participants how to react responsibly.
If you are interested in setting up a training session through Advocates for Children, contact Amanda Tant at firstname.lastname@example.org. The minimum group sign up is 10 people, and the cost is $10 per person.
When we come together as a community, we are harnessing a superpower. No amount of time that you commit is too small! If you’re looking for a one-time opportunity to connect, a chance to learn new skills, or you’re ready to take on a larger role, there is a volunteer position right for you. While the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the ways we can connect, here are a few options where your talents can shine.
For those who love the outdoors: Building & Grounds Volunteers maintain a beautiful environment for the children of the Flower Branch Children’s Shelter and our Child Advocacy Center.
For those who love to teach: Keeping children engaged in learning with safe mentors not only improves their grades, but it also boosts their confidence and self-esteem. Tutoring at the Flowering Branch Children’s Shelter is a wonderful opportunity to dedicate your time. Tutors commit to one tutoring session a week after completing the background screening and training session.
For those who are ready to stand up for a child that needs you: Specialized volunteers known as Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) can play a huge role in a child’s life after they have experienced a traumatic event. A CASA volunteer provides much-needed support to children in the court system by gathering information about the child’s situation. This includes assessing the child’s background, interviewing family, friends, and acquaintances, and attending court proceedings with the child. Studies show that children with a CASA are more likely to succeed in school, more likely to find a permanent safe home, and less likely to re-enter the foster care system. Being a CASA is a longer commitment, but has the potential to make a huge impact.
Advocates for Children observes COVID safety protocols per CDC recommendation. Volunteers will be required to wear a mask. If you’d like more information on becoming a volunteer with Advocates for Children (like me!), visit https://advochild.org/volunteer/.
The blue pinwheels is the physical representation of child abuse awareness during the month of April. The pinwheel reminds us of childlike whimsy, and has become a symbol of hope for many. This year, you can plant a pinwheel garden with Advocates for Children.
- 385 pinwheels = 385 children who made allegations of sexual and physical abuse in 2020. Help us grow hope out of hurt in 2021 by promoting better childhoods in our communities.
- Donate $385 and you’ll be able to plant a pinwheel garden with 385 pinwheels.
- Learn more about this opportunity at https://advochild.org/capm/.
The Advocates360 Monthly Giving Program is an amazing way to support Advocates for Children’s mission to provide every child with a safe, happy home. It’s an amazing way to strengthen our community and combat the child abuse epidemic.
- A $30 monthly donation to Advocates to Children equals $360 a year!
- All Advocates360 members receive a decal, a HOPE tee shirt and a welcome letter.
- Your monthly contribution provides Welcome Home packages for RISE clients, Care packages for FBCS residents, and it helps Advocates plan a more efficient budget.
Additionally, some clients need specific items for their first house or to ease the transition into the children’s shelter. If you’re interested in seeing what is needed, you can check out the Amazon Wish List.
Finally, Advocates for Children does accept donations of full size toiletries and paper products at the administration office at 49 Monroe Crossing in Cartersville.
*Due to COVID safety precautions, Advocates for Children is not accepting used item donations at this time.
Finally, the most important thing to combat child abuse is reporting abuse when you see it. If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, please take the steps to report it. If there is an immediate emergency, please dial 911. If you are made aware of abuse or neglect after the fact, please remember that false allegations made by children are extremely rare. Take the time to get the education necessary to understanding the warning signs of abuse and call for help when it’s needed. If you suspect abuse or neglect, you can make a report by calling the Division of Family and Children’s centralized intake at 1-855-422-4453. A report can be made 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
While preventing child abuse can seem overwhelming, it’s easier to tackle when we all come together. Let’s do our part by getting educated and involved TODAY!