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Every Person Can Prevent Child Abuse

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. Alaska has some of the highest rates of child abuse and neglect in the nation. Let’s change that.

Every person can make a difference. It is going to take all of us to ensure that the children of our state can have the opportunity to be safe and healthy. To assist you in your efforts, we’ve consolidated several resources to guide you as you make a difference in your family, in your neighborhood and in your community.

Online resources:

 

The Alaska Children’s Trust was created in 1988 to ensure all Alaskan children grow up in a family and community that provides them with all the tools and resources necessary to make their dreams come true. Visit the ACT National Child Abuse Prevention Month web page for tips, digital items, and toolkits that will help you foster a healthy environment at home and extend that into your community. The Ways to Make a Difference section features simple suggestions to have a positive impact for your family, your friends and neighbors, and your community.

The Department of Health and Social Services wants adults to Spread the Word about child abuse prevention. Doing so lets your community know they can take action to strengthen families and help them thrive. To assist, DHSS has created an outreach toolkit which contains social media graphics and sample social media posts to help you raise awareness to those on your friends list.

The Centers for Disease Control encourages the prevention of adverse childhood experiences (ACE), which can have lasting, negative effects on health, well-being, and opportunity. Visit cdc.gov/violenceprevention/aces to learn the risk factors and prevention strategies of one of the most common sources of lifelong stress in the US today.

Due to COVID-19 isolation measures, children are spending more and more time online. Whether it be socializing, gaming, or attending school, the increased reliance on technology has expanded opportunities for unwanted interactions. End Violence has teamed up with Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Roblox and Snapchat to help families Stay Safe at Home. Stay Safe Online. Visit their page for parent guides to know who your child is interacting with online and what risks to look for.

According to the CDC, at least 1 in 7 children have experienced child abuse and/or neglect in the past year. That number is likely an underestimate. In 2019, 1,840 children died of abuse and neglect in the US. Visit the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention page for resources that to identify and prevent physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglect.

Microaggressions are defined as subtle interactions or behaviors that communicate some sort of bias and typically target a persons race, gender, or sexuality. Microaggressions are a patterned response and adults should be aware of these everyday instances of discrimination and how to avoid them. For more, give a listen to NPR’s Life Kit episode titled Microaggressions Are A Big Deal: How To Talk Them Out And When To Walk Away.

No matter the age, witnessing domestic violence can wreak havoc on a child’s life. The Child Welfare Information Gateway has compiled resources to help those responding to children who have been exposed to this type of unfortunate situation.

Children develop their identity and attitudes through experiences and their cognitive developmental stages. It’s proven that young children progress through certain stages of racial and cultural awareness. In the article Activities that Promote Racial and Cultural Awareness by Barbara Biles, M.Ed., adults can learn about the stages of racial awareness. and age-appropriate activities that encourage acceptance.

The SEARHC Helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to residents of Southeast Alaska, including youth. For confidential care, patients can call 877.294.0074. For more SEARHC resources, visit this blog on suicide prevention.

Related healthy is here blogs:

The healthy is here blog has a handful of entries touching on parenting tips that can strengthen your relationship with your children.  Check out any of the three blogs listed below for advice on creating or improving the foundation of healthy relationships for your child in their own home.

To report child abuse call 1.800.478.4444 or email ReportChildAbuse@alaska.gov.

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To learn more about our Health Promotion programs, call us at 907.966.8936

The SEARHC Crisis Help Line, 1.877.294.0074, is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to residents of Southeast Alaska.