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National Child Abuse Prevention Month

Wednesday, March 31, 2010  
Posted by: Felix Ortiz
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National Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Since the early 1980s, this month has been designated as a time to raise awareness about the issues of child abuse and neglect. This is also a time to give thought and action to preventing Child Abuse and Neglect.

It is important to note that the United States is considered the wealthiest nation in the world, yet, when it comes to child well-being, we are failing. Out of the 27 richest nations in the world, the U.S. ranked 20 out of 27 on overall child well-being and it ranked 25 out of 27 for the rate of child deaths resulting from abuse and neglect. In 2007, U.S. state and local child protective services (CPS) investigated 3.2 million reports of children being abused or neglected, 794,000 children (10.6 per 1,000) children were identified as victims of child maltreatment, and 1,760 children died as a result of maltreatment. A non-CPS study reported an even higher rate of abuse, finding that 14% of U.S. children experienced some form of child maltreatment.

The affects of child maltreatment are far reaching – from the immediate impact of physical injury or neglect, to disruptions to early brain development and psychological and behavioral health problems. There are also lifelong consequences – maltreated children are 1.5 times more likely to use illicit drugs, over 28% more likely to engage in criminal behavior and increasingly likely to have difficulty establishing healthy intimate relationships as adults.

Despite prevention efforts, abuse in its various forms does occur and millions of children are the subject of judicial proceedings each year. The National Association of Counsel for Children (NACC) is concerned that these proceedings produce justice for children and their parents.

NACC promotes justice for these children and their families through:

  • The Child Welfare Law Specialization Program that certifies attorneys as Child Welfare Law Specialists. The performance of well trained and knowledgeable attorneys in this complex and challenging area of law has a direct impact on the lives of children and families. Children at risk of harm may not get adequate protection and parents in need of services may not get them without the advocacy of those who understand the system, the laws, and how they work.
  • Trainings including an Annual National Conference that promote education and skills training for attorneys and other multi-disciplinary professionals who work in what is one of the most important areas of the law because children and their families are extraordinarily vulnerable at this point in their lives.
  • The National Resource Center that serves families seeking attorney referrals and serves attorneys and other multi-disciplinary professionals seeking technical assistance and other information about child welfare issues and practice. 
  • Policy and Legal Advocacy that promote systems change to ensure that state child protection systems appropriately respond to reports of abuse, investigate allegations, and intervene in family relationships when appropriate and necessary.

We encourage you to take action this month to raise awareness about child abuse and neglect during National Child Abuse Prevention Month. There are many things you can do to learn more about these issues and raise awareness. One important thing you can do is to help NACC advance child abuse prevention and advocate for the rights and well being of children. Please consider making an on-line tax deductable donation now. You can find other action ideas on the Child Information Gateway website. This website also has an online calendar that provides "30 Ways to Strengthen Families During National Child Abuse Prevention Month.” 

Additional Resources:

Presidential Proclamation  

State Proclamations & Press Releases

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