April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. It is a time to remember and advocate for the care and safety of children. There is nothing more important in a family, community and society than taking care of those who are least able to care for themselves. Children, particularly under the age of 5, are those most likely to be harmed or put in harm’s way. This month gives us the opportunity to recognize and encourage everyone that they have a role and a responsibility in preventing abuse and neglect.
April is also a time to celebrate extended family members – grandparents, aunts and uncles, etc. – who help by ensuring children have a sense of security and consistency by taking them into their own homes when possible. Additionally, we recognize and are thankful for the work of Indiana’s dedicated Family Case Managers, providers who partner with DCS to offer services to children and families in need, and friends, neighbors, and members of the faith-based community who provide security and steadiness to families in crisis .
Indiana’s children cannot wait for help. If you suspect abuse or neglect, please report to the Indiana Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 1(800) 800-5556 before it’s too late. Here are few behavioral and physical signs that may indicate a child is being abused or neglected:
- Nervousness or aggression toward/around adults or other children
- Frequent or unexplained bruises and injuries
- Poor hygiene
- Acting out sexually at an inappropriate age
- Dramatic change in personality
- Significant changes in school behavior or grades
- Inability to stay awake or concentrate
- Low self-esteem
Children need everyone to stand up for their safety and best interests when they are in harm’s way. Families in crisis or turmoil need support from those close to them. Please take time this month to think about what you can do to help a child:
- Spend time with a child in your family
- Visit a grandchild, niece, nephew or neighborhood child in their home and offer to spend time with them
- Offer to mentor a child in school, outside activities or at a place of worship
- Foster parents are needed throughout the state provide a temporary home to children in crisis
- The Guardian ad Litem/Court Appointed Special Advocate program is in need of volunteers willing to be a voice for children during court proceedings.
- Obtain a Kid’s First license plate- supporting child abuse prevention services
- Be a friend to a parent you know who is struggling
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. Please step up in the life of a child today and make a difference for a lifetime.