“We must all hold ourselves accountable for promoting the well-being of children and families in our community” – Mary Anne Brown
In 1983, President Ronald Reagan declared the month of April as “National Child Abuse Prevention Month,” officially acknowledging the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse and neglect. Since 1897, Hephzibah has been on the frontlines of the war on child abuse and neglect, providing for the critical needs of vulnerable children removed from their homes due to extreme abuse and neglect. Inherent in our work is the commitment to raising awareness of child abuse and neglect and promoting prevention strategies in our community.
Throughout April and indeed throughout the year, Hephzibah encourages individuals, organizations and communities to work together to build awareness of abuse and neglect in our world, and prevent child abuse and neglect by strengthening and supporting families.
“We must all hold ourselves accountable for promoting the well-being of children and families in our communities,” says Mary Ann Brown, executive director. “Strong families make strong communities, and strong families require parents who have the knowledge, skills and resources needed to care for their children.”
While there are many factors that contribute to the increased incidence of child abuse, alcohol and substance abuse, poverty, single parenting, domestic violence and other stressful events often contribute to the likelihood of abuse. According to the National Child Abuse Prevention Month website, we can help prevent child abuse and neglect by making meaningful connections with children, youth and families in our communities. Research shows that protective factors are present in healthy families and promoting these factors is among the most effective ways to reduce the risk of child abuse and neglect.
“Everyone’s participation is critical,” Mary Anne says, “and focusing on ways to connect with families is the best thing our community can do to strengthen families and prevent child abuse and neglect.”