April is child abuse prevention month!  Such an important topic to us all!  Anything we can do as a community to understand, report and prevent child abuse and neglect is one of the most important things we can ever do!  When trying to decide if something is child neglect/abuse many times there is a place on the counties website linked to the DSS (department of social services) site that goes over what constitutes abuse and neglect.  This example below is from Mecklenburg counties website in NC:

https://www.mecknc.gov/dss/children/Pages/MecklenburgCountyChildAbuseAwarenessCoalition.aspx

Key Points:

  • Neglect is the most common form of maltreatment, but it receives far less attention than other forms of abuse.
  • Children younger than 4 years are at greatest risk of severe injury or death.
  • Child abuse occurs in all ethnicities, cultures, education levels, and socioeconomic divisions of society.
  • The emotional pain and trauma suffered by children who are abused and neglected often troubles them throughout their lives

Signs to watch for:

  • Children who are physically abused may:
    • Be nervous around adults.
    • Be watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen.
    • Have difficulty playing.
    • Act aggressively toward adults and other children.
    • Be unable to concentrate at school.
    • Suddenly underachieve – or overachieve – at school.
    • Find it difficult to trust other people and make friends.
    • Arrive at school too early or leave after the other children
  • Children who are sexually abused may:
    • Behave differently when the abuse starts.
    • Care less about their appearance or their health.
    • Talk or act sexually at too early an age.
    • Be secretive and stop talking about home life.
    • Start soiling themselves.
    • Be unable to sleep.
    • Suddenly find physical contact frightening.
  • Children who are neglected or emotionally abused may:
    • Have difficulty learning to talk.
    • Find it hard to develop close relationships.
    • Be overly friendly with strangers.
    • Be unable to play imaginatively.
    • Think badly of themselves.
    • Underachieve at school.

Remember: None of these signs proves that child maltreatment is present, since any of them may be noticeable at one time or another. But when they occur repeatedly or in combination with one another, the child may be suffering abuse.

For more information visit www.preventchildabusenc.org.

How Can You Help?

  • Volunteer
  • Lend a hand to a family or friend in need
  • Spend time with your family and children
  • Find ways to help families thrive
  • Donate to child abuse prevention programs
  • Be a nurturing parent
  • Get involved – advocate for services that help families
  • Ask for help

SUSPECT ABUSE?

If you have questions or concerns regarding child abuse or neglect call our

24-Hour Child Abuse and Neglect HOTLINE:

704-336-CARE(2273)

Be sure to be aware of the regulations in your own county to be educated and aware of how to stop child neglect and abuse.

Kelly Saylor