It’s up to every one of us to protect America ’s children. And it takes a community to protect the children in their neighborhood.
We must work to build strong communities where individuals, families, and children are valued and supported and protected.
You can create, enhance and maintain a healthy, strong and supportive community by:
Getting to know your neighbors – Develop an extended family in your neighborhood by creating friendly relationships with your neighbors. When you support each other, you don’t feel as overwhelmed.
Help a parent or family in stress – If you know a parent or a family in crisis or under stress, offer to help. You can baby-sit, help them with chores and errands, or suggest resources in the community that can help.
Remember the risk factors.
Risk factors of violence and neglect are greater in families when parents are involved in:
Reach out to children and parents in your community – Anything you do to support kids and parents in your family and extended community helps to reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect. Encouraging a child can build self-esteem. And if a child needs a safe haven or seems troubled … be supportive. Starting a Block Parent Program in your neighborhood can be a huge help to a child who needs help.
Get involved in a local school – Join the local PTA or mentor a child.
Raise the issue – Call or write your elected officials to educate them about issues in your community and the need for child abuse prevention, intervention, and treatment programs.
Contact your local school district and faith community to encourage them to sponsor classes and support programs for new parents.
Keep your neighborhood safe. Start a Block Parenting Program and plan a local "National Community Night" that brings together neighbors, local businesses, firefighters, police, and others. Get to know everyone and all of the children in the community by holding events, and help keep your neighborhood and children safe.
Anything you do to support your community can strengthen families and reduce child abuse and neglect.
Be an active community member – By building a strong community, participating in its programs and support community members you will become a stronger neighborhood.
Volunteer – Numerous opportunities exist in community or faith based organizations, health-care clinics or children's hospitals, childcare centers, or social service agencies and in tribal communities,
If you have expertise in these areas you can get involved in your community by creating and publicizing programs such as:
Recognize the warning signs – Some of the warning signs that a child might be abused or neglected include:
Report violence or neglect ... even if you only suspect it – and keep reporting it— until something is done. Contact child protective services (in your local phone book) or your local police department.
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