About 80 percent of the substantiated acts of child abuse and neglect in Indiana are committed by parents or family members.
Perpetrators constantly cite lack of parenting skills and support as the primary reason for their abusive behaviors.
Yet, we continue to ignore the overwhelming need to better prepare parents and caregivers. We must make policy and systemic changes that value children and strengthen families — we cannot wait for someone else to do it.
If we work together to change the way society values and supports the well-being of children and families, and if we can change the cultural attitude to ensure that healthy, safe and nurturing experiences are supported by the actions of every individual and every community, then “preventing child abuse” no longer describes simply the “cause” we each support, but rather, it begins to describe the “effect” of all we do together.
The observance of Child Abuse Prevention Month in April reminds us all of our collective responsibility to make positive choices that will affect the safety and well-being of our children.
Beyond the choices we make every day to assure our own children and the children we know receive nurturing, loving experiences every day, we can make choices that will affect change at the governmental and community level on the systems that support healthy community and family development.
Child abuse and neglect robs so many of our society’s children of their childhood and their sense of security and well-being.
And while no one can do everything, everyone can do something. And together, we can do anything.
Together, we can advocate for policies and programs that support healthy families and children.
Together, we can live in a prosperous society that understands and genuinely values the well-being of children.
Together, we can prevent child abuse.
It is, however, up to each of us — not someone else — to make a difference in the life of a child.
We must hold policymakers, elected officials and ourselves accountable for being informed, being involved and being dedicated to preventing child abuse before any pain is inflicted on another child.
And while April is recognized nationally as Child Abuse Prevention Month, every day should be about preventing child abuse.
Preventing child abuse is possible if, collectively and individually, we make the right choices and changes for our children — Indiana’s future.
President, NET — Nurture*Engage*Transform, a Monroe County Chartered Council of Prevent Child Abuse Indiana
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