National Child Abuse Prevention Month recognizes the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse and neglect and promotes the social and emotional well-being of children and families. During the month of April and throughout the year, communities are encouraged to increase awareness and provide education and support to families through resources and strategies to prevent child abuse and neglect. Unfortunately, there are still terrible cases of abuse happening, and they get wide-spread media coverage. This is not to say that those stories should not be covered – they should. Not only to recognize the suffering that has occurred, but to uncover systemic problems that offer opportunities for improvement.
But, it is crucial for us all to recognize that – by far – the most common problem is neglect not abuse.
And most parents don’t make a conscious choice to neglect their child. It can be a result of inadequate housing, not enough food, lack of medical or dental care…and all of these things add stress to a family’s life. And stress often translates directly to a parent being unable to demonstrate affection or nurturing behavior toward their children. The answer in these neglectful situations is not to remove the child from their home (unless there are clear safety or health concerns), but the answer is to help the whole family. Casa de los Niños helps thousands of kids every year in their own homes and with their parents, to give whole families resources and skills to be safe and healthy together.