THE FOSTER CARE COMMUNITy
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. We believe that every child deserves to be surrounded by safe and healthy adults in their lives. Many of us have seen articles about the rise in incidents of child abuse since shelter in place or “Safer At Home” orders. The impact of COVID-19 ripples to every person in our society, including the most vulnerable: children. Many parents are working from home while trying to supervise their children’s schooling; some parents have lost their jobs and a reliable source of income. Groceries and basic needs have been difficult to obtain for many. All of these contribute to elevated stress in parents and in turn elevated stress in families. For those who have already been struggling, this extra stress may be the tipping point that results in higher instances of abuse.
For all of the cases that are reported, many will go unreported because children are in their homes without regular contact with teachers, coaches, and medical professionals, some of the most common reporters of suspected child abuse.
You can help support families and children in these hard times. The number one thing you can do right now is stay connected to others. Find intentional ways to keep up your engagement. It will look different than it did previously; thankfully, there are many creative ways to remain in contact and to make room to listen to what others are feeling. There are dozens of apps and websites that make virtual communication a possibility. If you are able to help with some of the practical needs of a family, such as arranging deliveries for food, household supplies, and diapers/wipes, that is another important way to alleviate some of the stress that comes with living during a pandemic. Your presence in their lives matters. We are so thankful for your connection to your family or youth.
If you suspect child abuse, you are obligated to report it. Every adult in Texas is a mandated reporter. Suspected child abuse can be reported by calling 1-800-252-5400. You are the eyes and voice for children who are unsafe and being harmed.
Please click here for a resource for recognizing signs and symptoms of abuse and be part of the prevention.