Abuse is Preventable: National Child Abuse Prevention Month, 2023

With the Sauer Family Foundation solidly grounded in “strengthening the well-being of children so they thrive in families and communities,” acknowledging April as Child Abuse Prevention month is a time to reassert our understanding that abuse is preventable.

Evidence shows that in America, 1 in 7 children have experienced abuse or neglect in the past year. Families impacted by a low socioeconomic status are 5 times more likely to be impacted, and in 2018, the total lifetime economic burden associated with child abuse and neglect was about $592 billion (according to the CDC). These are grim realities.

In Minnesota, informed by these unfortunate truths, we are meeting the issue of abuse and neglect in a forthright manner. In 2022, Governor Tim Walz issued a proclamation acknowledging Child Abuse Prevention month. On April 5th, 2023, the Minnesota Department of Human services shared a list of 18 community organizations who are holding events that celebrate child and family wellbeing. Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead acknowledged that these organizations “help build trust while supporting children and families in ways that connect their culture and values,” with the belief that “families who have what they need are less likely to experience the child protection system or require more intensive services.”

Some of these organizations that Sauer FF has been fortunate to partner with include:

  • Family Refuge Village will host an event in North Minneapolis for women and their children to provide information and connections to health, parenting, and financial literacy resources, along with a violence prevention workshop for children ages 11 to 13.
  • FamilyWise will host events in Minneapolis and St. Paul with a peer support group for parents as well as gatherings and education sessions specifically for young parents.
  • The Institute to Transform Child Protection at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law will host an event in St. Paul for families in the kinship caregiver community to learn about resources, share stories, and connect with others.
  • Urban League Twin Cities will promote community engagement and awareness of child abuse prevention in the African American community at an event in Minneapolis.

These actions are not only declarative steps towards further illuminating the issues of child abuse and neglect, but they also reflect that we know how to support children and families towards reducing negative impact.

We know that families:

  • who can meet their basic needs and have access to child/health care,
  • who have stability in their neighborhoods with necessary social supports,
  • who can benefit from positive role models/teachers/mentors, and
  • who have parents or caregivers that use and teach respectful communication and apply consistent rules

create environments where children can increase confidence and independence. That applied, these elements allow for homes and safe spaces where children can thrive without fear of physical or mental harm.

Now is our time! Reducing and preventing child abuse and neglect is not a dream beyond our grasp.

– Sheri