In the field of child abuse and neglect prevention, the word “prevention” means to stop maltreatment; but it also means making positive things happen. The Children’s Trust Fund supports Minnesota’s history of imagining more for children than just the absence of abuse and neglect. The Children’s Trust Fund coordinates and supports programs that develop good parenting skills, ensure healthy youth development and create healthy families.
Minnesota Statute 119A.11 define prevention as: • Promoting the general welfare of children and families (primary prevention) • Preventing abuse to youth where it is likely to occur • Preventing recurrence of abuse after it has occurred.
Child abuse happens across all segments of society. Prevent Child Abuse America reports that risk factors are greater in families where parents: • Are having economic, housing or personal problems • Are isolated from their family or community • Are having difficulty controlling anger or stress • Are dealing with physical or mental health issues • Are abusing alcohol or drugs • Appear uninterested in the care, nourishment or safety of their children.
Helping parents, who might be struggling with any of these challenges, reduces the likelihood that children will be abused or neglected.
• Know the warning signs of abuse • Be nurturing • Understand the needs of children at different stages of maturity • Reach out to neighbors, teachers and other parents, ask questions • Take part in prevention efforts in your community.
• Know the warning signs of abuse • Take part in prevention efforts, including organizing community efforts in April, Child Abuse Prevention month • Know family support resources in your area so that you can make referrals • Know your responsibility as a mandated reporter.
Children and families lead complicated lives. There is no one answer that works for everyone. A few promising practices are recognized as effective for some communities:
• Family Support is an approach to strengthening and empowering families and communities to foster the optimal development of all family members. Programs are flexible, individualized and involve parents in all steps of problem solving. • Parent education and support programs focus on improving family strengths and functioning. Skill-building can help parents guide their children. It can assist parents in sorting, choosing and using parenting information. • Home visiting is service delivery in a comfortable setting. Home visitors are paraprofessionals, trained individuals from the community or nurses who go into the homes of pregnant women, or families with young children, to encourage parents and make necessary referrals.
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