National Child Abuse Prevention Month

Why is there a National Child Abuse Prevention Month?  According to the U.S Department of Health & Human Services, “National Child Abuse Prevention Month recognizes the importance of families and communities working together to strengthen families to prevent child abuse and neglect.”

What is child abuse?

The Mayo Clinic describes child abuse as any intentional harm to a child under 18 years. It takes many forms which often occur simultaneously – physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, medical abuse, and neglect. Emotions and symptoms displayed by a child who is being abused may include guilt, shame, and a fear to share with anyone. There may be changes in behavior (aggression, anger), withdrawal from friends and activities, absences from school, self-harm, depression, or anxiety, for example.

Environmental and community factors that contribute to child abuse include poverty (“a 10% increase in a common benefit for low- to moderate-income working families, the Earned Income Tax Credit, led to a 9%” drop of reported child neglect”) and a lack of protective factors: knowledgeable parenting, conflict resolution, strong social supports and success in school.

As we grapple with the impacts of child abuse, this month we also acknowledge institutions, communities, and individuals who partner with and support families knowing that this work fortifies families. That seemingly simple actions of playing with and listening to our children daily, establishing and maintaining a daily routine and praising behaviors increases a child’s sense of wellbeing and strengthens the child-parent bond.

Everyone is Somebody’s Child

Sauer Family Foundation believes in the power of nurturing, supportive relationships for children and youth to develop to their full potential as evidenced in partnerships with organizations who understand that meeting the social emotional needs of children is a key element in maintaining healthy families, reducing environments where abuse seems an option.

Work Sauer FF has funded is seen in this sample of organizations making a difference in the lives of children and their families: the Minneapolis Expansion of Friends of the Children whose mentors meet weekly with children over 12 years. They focus on 9 core assets of personal strength, empowering them and in turn, their families. Altering generational isms for the better.

FamilyWise, who understand that families are more likely to thrive when they have a strong social safety net. That Natural Supports wrap a circle of care around system-involved youth and their families.

Mobile Hope creates a culture of achievement and safety within mobile home communities through education, resources, and activities designed to support and uplift youth and their families.

We know that child abuse is preventable. That minimally through enhancing parenting skills, providing families with quality care and enrichment opportunities they can be equipped to respond thoughtfully during stressful interactions

– Sheri Hixon, Program Officer