For the month of April, you may see people predominantly wearing blue while sporting a pinwheel. That’s because they are raising awareness for national child abuse prevention month. On July 31st, 1974, the first federal child protection legislation, CAPTA was signed by President Richard Nixon and marked the beginning of a new national response to the problem of child abuse and neglect. Nine years later in 1983, April was first recognized as national child abuse prevention month by president Ronald Reagan.
Unfortunately after twenty years, we still see child abuse and neglect nationwide today. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children's Bureau indicated that for the state of Texas in 2014, out of the 252,733 children who received an investigation or alternative response, 65,334 children were victims to abuse or neglect (a 0.6% increase from 2010.)
Although only recognized nationally for the month of April, prevention and awareness aids are working year-round to provide local communities with tools and information on how to identify, report, treat, and prevent child abuse and neglect. (Read President Obama’s 2016 presidential proclamation here.)
There are many ways to identify child abuse before it reaches the point of fatality. However, these signs can be subtle, and in many cases, nonexistent. Here are a few changes to look for in your child’s behavior:
Changes in emotional behavior
Returning to less mature/younger behaviors
Fear of going home
Changes in eating
Changes to sleep patterns
Changes in school performance or attendance
Lack of personal care in hygiene
Inappropriate sexual behaviors
Step up, step forward, and take a pledge. To help your community, consider becoming a member of an organization, donating to provide support for an organization, or attending classes and conferences held near you.
Stay informed with preventing child abuse and neglect by visiting: