Child Abuse Prevention in Your Community
As a full-service children's hospital with a commitment to community service, American Family Children's Hospital created a Child Protection Program designed to be a regional resource for Wisconsin, Northern Illinois and Eastern Iowa.
We all have a role to play in building strong communities in which families and children are valued and supported. It is in these kinds of communities that children are safest from abuse and neglect.
Here are some things you can do as a concerned individual.
The Five R's
Prevent Child Abuse America has developed the following "Five R's," which can help individuals better understand the role they can play in child abuse prevention.
1. Raise the issue
- Call or write your candidates and elected officials to educate them about issues in your community and the need for child abuse prevention, intervention and treatment programs
- Contact your local school district and faith community to encourage them to sponsor classes and support programs for new parents
2. Reach out to kids and parents in your community
- Be a good neighbor
- Offer to baby-sit
- Donate your children's used clothing, furniture and toys for use by another family
- Be kind and supportive, particularly to new parents and children
3. Remember the risk factors
Child abuse and neglect occur in all segments of our society, but the risk factors are greater in families where parents:
- Abuse alcohol or drugs
- Are isolated from their families or communities
- Have difficulty controlling their anger or stress
- Appear uninterested in the care, nourishment, or safety of their children
- Seem to be having serious economic, housing, or personal problems
4. Recognize the warning signs
Some of the warning signs that a child might be abused or neglected include:
- Nervousness around adults
- Aggression toward adults or other children
- Inability to stay awake or to concentrate for extended periods
- Sudden, dramatic changes in personality or activities
- Acting out sexually or showing interest in sex that is not appropriate for his or her age
- Frequent or unexplained bruises or injuries
- Low self-esteem
- Poor hygiene
5. Report suspected abuse or neglect
If you suspect abuse or neglect is occurring, report it - and keep reporting it - until something is done. Contact child protective services (in your local phone book) or your local police department.