I didn't write anything about child abuse prevention during April even though it is child abuse prevention month because we can't really limit child abuse prevention awareness to one month.
I think I've said that before.
I did get the opportunity to visit the Family Support and Children's Justice Center the other day to cover their wrap up festivities in support of the April awareness activities.
The best way to prevent child abuse is to work with families' way before they get into crisis. The Family Support Center is one of the agencies that tries to focus on families that might have some risk factors but are not yet close to crossing the abuse line.
Some of the factors that could contribute to a family abusing or neglecting their children might be a history of drug abuse; loss of a job; divorce; domestic violence; poverty; unreasonable expectations of what a child can do; no expectations of the child, or high stress levels due to family or other issues.
Now none of those things says a parent will be an abuser. Many people experience several of the things listed sometime during their child raising experiences and they don't come close to abusing or neglecting their children.
It is those with good support systems that are able to cope when times get tough. Places like the Family Support Center functions as that support system for many people out there who may need a little more help to get by.
The center is one of many in a network of services in our area that work to strengthen our community. We should support the efforts of all that are there to lend a hand before, during and after a family needs help. A few of the others include Southeastern Utah Health Department, headstart, and all the schools and teachers. Also included are Work Force Services, Four Corners Mental Health, DCFS, Vocational Rehabilitation, Active Re-Entry, the Women's Shelter, and United Way.
There are so many others that are here in our network that help in little and big ways that it is hard to list them all. Hopefully if you are part of the solution to child abuse and I didn't thank you here, don't think you are forgotten. Out there is a child or a family that remembers your help every day.
Don't give up even when some days it feels like we are not winning the war. We do win small battles each day and there are many out there that thank you for caring.