Strong families are one of the most effective preventative measures against child abuse. Children need to know that they are special, loved and capable of following their dreams. Spend time every day nurturing your children and engaging them in everyday activities — from grocery shopping to nature walks. Expanding your knowledge of parenting and child development is also a valuable pursuit. Your child’s pediatrician is a valuable resource for discussing parenting questions, as are family members, friends, your child’s teachers, and PCAV’s 800-CHILDREN Parent Helpline. But it’s not just about meeting your child’s needs: research shows that parents who take time to care for themselves — both physically and emotionally — have better resilience during times of stress, therefore decreasing the likelihood of abuse. The establishment of trusted social connections and a support network are also critical components. Isolation is often a contributing factor to child abuse. Lack of a support system and the feelings of being stressed and alone can intensify problems. Protecting children and supporting strong families is everyone’s responsibility! Knowing who to call for support when you need it is an effective preventative measure. Prevent Child Abuse Virginia has a multitude of services & programs available to parents and caregivers :
- 800-CHILDREN Parent Helpline – Trained call specialists give guidance on issues ranging from how to understand each stage of a child’s development to how to reduce parental stress, strengthen the parent-child bond, access helpful community resources and contact authorities if abuse is suspected.
- Circle of Parents – provides a friendly, supportive environment led by parents and other caregivers. It’s a place where anyone in a parenting role can openly discuss the successes and challenges of raising children. Where they can find and share support.
- Healthy Families – Connects new parents around the state with a variety of services, including – for the most overburdened families – a free-of-charge home visitor who supports the family before the child is born until the child enters school. The program has been proven to reduce child abuse and neglect and increase children’s access to routine health care and immunizations.
Join in the fight against child abuse and help promote healthy families by sharing this important message with your friends, family and fellow community members.