April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Child abuse is a major contributing factor to the crisis of foster care in South Carolina and in our country. There are many forms of abuse that children can experience, and the effects can last a lifetime.
One of the paradoxes of foster care is that our end goal is to no longer be needed. We’d love to see a day when all families are loved and supported, and kids never have to enter foster care. For that to happen, we need to address problems before they have a chance to develop into big issues. Building relationships can help to prevent child abuse. Here are three ways.
- Build relationships with parents
Life is easier in community. Building relationships with parents and families in your neighborhood can help build a support network for them if they ever get to a point of crisis. If parents have trusted family and friends, it’s easier for them to ask for help when parenting gets difficult. Also, you can help someone point out potential issues for someone you’ve built a relationship with.
- Build relationships with kids
Kids need to be safe, and they need a safe place to tell someone if something bad is happening at home. Build relationships with kids by participating in school programs, children’s ministries at your church, or a youth sports program. You could help prevent child abuse by being the person an abused child discloses abuse to. If they never feel safe enough to report it, the abuse will likely continue.
- Build relationships with YOUR kids
Abuse happens for a number of reasons. But in most cases, the abusers don’t see the child as valuable or worth caring about. That can cause the child to feel like they are worthless or undeserving of love. If your child knows they’re loved and valued, it can change how they view themselves and their situations. If children are taught the difference between appropriate and inappropriate relationships and discipline, they will be able to help themselves as well as help their peers recognize when a situation needs to be reported.
Help Prevent Child Abuse
Thornwell provides programs that serve children in need, and many of these children have suffered abuse. We license, train, and support families to care for these children through our foster care program. To learn more, please complete the form below.