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Child Abuse Prevention Month Recognizes Every Community’s Role

 Prevent Child Abuse Iowa recognizes the importance of community-based support for all children and families during National Child Abuse Prevention (CAP) Month in April. The theme of this year’s awareness and impact campaign is “Growing a Better Tomorrow for All Children, Together.”

“We can build healthier, safer, and thriving communities if we take the same approach to raise families that we do to tending a community garden on a shared piece of land,” said Mackenzie Ford, LSI Family Support Worker. “Too often, our society thinks of raising healthy children as a parent or caregiver’s responsibility alone. In reality, we all benefit when groups of people work together to collectively care for children, who grow up to become successful, contributing adults.”

Throughout CAP Month, Prevent Child Abuse Iowa, its parent organization, and other chapters, affiliates, and supporting organizations are using the community garden metaphor to reinforce the message that “Every day, we help positive childhood experiences take root.”

“Research shows that positive childhood experiences in nurturing environments provide fertile ground for physical and mental health, learning, and social skills,” explained Dr. Melissa Merrick, president and CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America. “By preventing child abuse and neglect we aim to holistically improve the lives of all families and the communities they live in.”

This is the second year that CAP Month has taken place during the COVID-19 pandemic. The coronavirus outbreak and its subsequent losses have changed the world permanently, and prevention professionals are still working to understand the pandemic’s repercussions for incidents of child abuse and neglect.

The risk to our nation’s children for experiencing child abuse and neglect in times of extreme stress and uncertainty is quite high. COVID-19 has added stressors to the lives of parents and caregivers, such as loss of employment, loss of income due to lack of paid leave, school and business closings that necessitate new childcare and homeschool arrangements, and food insecurity. The social connections and community services and activities that serve as protective factors against child abuse and neglect may not exist in this extraordinary time of physical distancing.

Prevent Child Abuse America, in close partnership with its nationwide chapter network, supports the expansion of evidence-based home visiting programs, such as Healthy Families America, to help families cope with stress and trauma. The organization also advocates for expanding family-friendly policies, like paid sick and family leave, to help reduce stress on parents and caregivers.

Prevent Child Abuse Iowa recommends the following ways that people everywhere can dig in and help raise awareness and impact virtually during this year’s CAP Month:

- more - ● Participate in Prevent Child Abuse America’s nationwide Digital Advocacy Day, on Wednesday, April 21. Contact legislators to let them know that you and your community support family-friendly policies, such as paid sick and family leave, that help reduce stress on parents and caregivers.

● Follow Prevent Child Abuse Iowa on social media and share our posts throughout the month of April. Encourage friends and family to do the same. Use the hashtags #GrowingBetterTogether and #CAPMonth to signify your commitment to helping children, families, and entire communities to thrive.

● Make a tax-deductible donation and help build a virtual pinwheel garden.

For more ways to get involved in CAP Month, please visit preventchildabuse.org/GrowingBetterTogether2021.

About Prevent Child Abuse America

Prevent Child Abuse America is a leading champion for all children in the United States. Founded in 1972 and headquartered in Chicago, we are the nation’s oldest and largest organization dedicated to the primary prevention of child abuse and neglect, working to actively prevent all forms of child abuse and neglect before they occur. Our success is founded on a nationwide network of state chapters and nearly 600 Healthy Families America home visiting sites, which directly provide parents and caregivers a wide variety of services and resources that help children grow up to be productive, contributing members of their communities and society. Our comprehensive approach is informed by science—we translate and disseminate innovative research to promote proven solutions that our vast network then puts into action. And we raise public awareness and advocate for family friendly policies at the national, state, and local levels to support transformative programs and promote the conditions and contexts that help children, families, and communities across the country thrive. Visit preventchildabuse.org to learn more.

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