April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month!
Here are five things that we should know about National Child Abuse Prevention Month:
1) Why is Child Abuse Prevention Month needed?
During 2021, fewer than one-quarter (20.2%) of confirmed maltreatment victims were removed from their homes because of an investigation or alternative response. Approximately 1.8 million children received prevention services in 2021 and 1.1 million children received post response services (such as family preservation, family support or foster care) because of needs discovered during an investigation or alternative response.
2) How many children die from abuse?
Child fatalities are the most tragic consequence of maltreatment. A national estimate of 1,820 children died from abuse and neglect in 2021. Missouri reported 75 fatalities in 2021.
3) What types of preventive services are available?
States perform a range of prevention activities, including addressing the needs of infants born with prenatal drug exposure, referring children not at risk of imminent harm to community services, implementing criminal record checks for prospective foster and adoptive parents and other adults in their homes, training child protective services workers, protecting the legal rights of families and alleged perpetrators, and supporting citizen review panels.
4) What is the definition of child abuse or maltreatment?
Child abuse and neglect is, at a minimum, any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker, which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation, or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm (Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act).
5) What can be done to prevent child abuse?
Due to the long-term effects child abuse and neglect can have on a child’s physical, psychological, and behavioral health, providing quality primary prevention programs and services is vital. Programs and services that focus on the overall health and well-being of both children and families and that are designed to promote resiliency and parent capacity are key to preventing child maltreatment. To increase the likelihood that children are safe from maltreatment, communities should move beyond efforts solely built on public awareness campaigns to an approach that emphasizes the vital role of community, early intervention services, and collaboration and acknowledges that all parents need support.