Throughout the month of April, child welfare providers, advocates, state agencies, family court systems and our communities observe National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
However, this year, the annual campaign feels a bit different. The coronavirus and the response bring into perspective the importance of being aware of factors that can trigger child abuse and signs and risk factors that can lead to abuse, especially when families are experiencing additional trauma like a public health crisis.
At the same time, it is now more important than ever that we keep children and youth, families and our communities strong by sharing messages of hope, resilience, and strength.
History shows us that during times of crisis, child abuse reporting decreases, as noted in a recent article by Live 5 News, SC DSS: Child abuse reports down during pandemic, making it more important than ever to raise awareness of this month.
Carolina Youth Development Center (CYDC) plays an important role in preventing child abuse in the Lowcountry. The diversity of our programs and services gives us a variety of pathways to reach families in our community, then provide them with the knowledge, confidence and support to safely care for their children while also strengthening their families.
Every day we meet parents and families that want more than anything to provide a loving and healthy home and be a good parent for their children. But for many, after generations of unhealthy parenting practices and techniques, they just do not know-how.
Over the last decade, scientists have made groundbreaking discoveries in brain science. We are learning more about the brain and the different ways both children and adults learn and process their environment, emotions and even trauma. All of this gives us greater insight into what actions, social situations, environments, and stimuli lead to our behavior patterns later in life.
CYDC’s mission is to share the latest science and techniques with our community of parents to better engage them in improved parenting techniques by arming them with greater understanding and the ability to process their emotions and reactions to their children’s behavior.
CYDC’s Strengthening Families program is at the forefront of our effort to engage our community’s parents and disrupt generational parenting practices.
The program serves families with children ages 6 to 11 and is designed to help develop positive discipline practices, have resilience in tough times, reduce conflict, improve parenting skills, and assist children with social skills, relationships, and school performance.
All of these factors play an important role in keeping families strong while protecting against potential abuse or neglect and adverse childhood experiences.
Participants complete a 14-session program over the course of several months. The sessions, which always begin with a family meal, typically last 2½ hours and include parents and children meeting separately to work with group leaders before coming together for shared activities to finish. Participants who successfully complete the 14-session program are recognized in a graduation celebration.
It is through programs such as Strengthening Families that we are working to not only improve the lives of children in the Lowcountry but to change our community as a whole for the better. Healthy and happy families lead to healthier, happier communities that are able to address the fundamental needs of everyone in the community.
Together we can put an end to child abuse and neglect and strengthen families.
How to join us:
- Share this blog with your friends and family!
- Follow us on social media.
- Learn more about signs of child abuse through these resources from our partners.
- Donate to help us expand the Strengthening Families program as well as other CYDC programs and services that prevent child abuse!