All children deserve to grow up in safe, supportive environments. As such, April is Child Abuse Prevention month. This campaign promotes simple actions that can make a big difference in the lives of children. More recently, the focus is to strengthen families and communities and prevent abuse or neglect before it occurs. Additionally, the campaign sets forth to prevent the maltreatment of children by removing and challenging barriers to healthy parenting.
How Prevalent is Child Abuse and Neglect?
A reported 1,820 children died from abuse and neglect in the United States in 2021, according to the latest national data. Child protective services investigated or responded to almost four million allegations of child maltreatment across the country, and a total 600,000 children were found to be victims of child maltreatment. Additionally, 58.0% of victims received post-response services, and only one in five (20.2%) victims were removed from their homes because of an investigation or alternative response.
In New York, nearly 190,000 cases of maltreatment were investigated in 2021. Of those investigations, 56,760 children were determined to be either abused or neglected. Tragically, there were also 126 child fatalities.
How to Stop Child Neglect and Abuse
Providing information about best practices that are known to build parental capacity through protective factors is key in helping families become more resilient. Specifically, protective factors are conditions or attributes that mitigate or eliminate risk and can increase the health and well-being of children and families. For example, major protective factors include knowledge of parenting, knowledge of child development, parental resilience, social connections, and concrete supports.
On the other hand, there are issues – such as a family’s neighborhood, income level, or other societal factors – that can make parenting more challenging. By reducing these vulnerabilities through strengths-based approaches that truly support families, child neglect and abuse can be mitigated to improve the outcomes of children, youth, and families.
How to Handle Child Neglect and Abuse Allegations
Sometimes there’s an investigation by CPS (Child Protective Services), DSS (Department of Social Services), or ACS (Administration for Children’s Services). In other cases, a family offense petition gets filed in family court. Additionally, there may be a criminal investigation relating to the abuse or neglect of a child.
Whatever the situation, you should consult with a lawyer. Not only will a lawyer protect you, they will also advise you about related matters, such as divorce and custody. Most importantly, they will help you in fighting for your children.
- Child Welfare Information Gateway, National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Available at: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/preventing/preventionmonth/ (last accessed Apr. 3, 2023).
- Prevent Child Abuse New York, April Is Child Abuse Prevention and Family Strength and Support Month. Available at: https://www.preventchildabuseny.org/child-abuse-prevention-month (last accessed Apr. 3, 2023).
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