April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month: Take Action!

| Brandie Heiseler

What is NCAPM All About?

April of 2017 marks the 34th year of National Child Abuse Prevention Month (NCAPM), a time dedicated to raising awareness of this devastating social issue and ending child abuse once and for all.

Since 1983, this month has been a time for communities to have a dialogue about the ways to not only stop the abuse of children, but providing education and resources for families and young adults to make sure that the abuse and neglect of children doesn’t carry on for even one more generation.

What the Statistics Say (And What they Don’t Say)

child abuse

Cases of abuse are still high

Are the numbers of abuse victims still high enough to warrant a month of awareness and advocacy? Sadly, the answer remains an absolute “yes”.

Despite what you might think, America still has a huge abuse and neglect problem. Current statistics report a staggering 3 million children a year who deal with some form of abuse. Sadly, these are just the cases that are reported; we will likely never know the true statistics.

This is one of the worst rates of abuse in any industrialized nation. The time has come to say, “Enough!” We can do better, which is why each April we renew our promise to the children of America.

Time Can’t Heal All Wounds: Ongoing Symptoms of Abuse

Abuse would be bad enough if the hurting ended with sores and bruises, but abuse creates many scars that do not manifest until later in life (often manifesting in dangerously rebellious teenage or young adult behavior).

Over time, the young victims of abuse may also be affected by the following issues:

  • Increased tendency towards drug and alcohol abuse
  • Serious depression, including suicide attempts
  • Higher instances of “risk-seeking” behavior, such as multiple sexual partners, and other unsafe sexual practices
  • An almost 80% instance of some type of psychological disorder

The list of effects is startling, but what is most unacceptable are the nearly 1,600 children who died as a result of abuse last year. Until that number reaches zero, the NCAPM will advocate and raise awareness of these issues affecting countless American families.

History of the NCAPM

Did you know that the first specific laws regarding child abuse were only signed in 1974? While we’ve certainly come a long way since then, there is still a social stigma and problem of reportage and awareness that we need to deal with as a nation.

What started as a single week of awareness in 1982 became a full-fledged month of action starting in 1983, and the events and actions have inspired the creation of new laws and statutes that aim to eliminate harm to innocent and vulnerable children.

Whether in your own community, online, or by joining a larger march or event somewhere near you, you can become part of the NCAPM’s history this April–don’t wait until next year.

Ideas to Get Involved

child abuse

Participate in abuse prevention

There are many ways you can participate in this nationwide awareness month. Activities can be simple:

  • Organizing a block party or “meet and greet” with your neighbors
  • Attending parent meetings at your children’s school
  • Finding city or government-organized events for NCAPM

Or, you can organize with other parents and local families to put on bigger events, such as:

  • Running for local office or a PTA board
  • Attending and speaking at local government meetings (such as city council)
  • Organizing letter-writing campaigns and petitions

Keep in mind, these are just a few ideas. Be creative and think about new and interesting ways that you can help children and families who have been affected by neglect and/or abuse.

Moving Our Communities and Families Forward

Whether you visit the official NCAPM website (provided by the government’s Child Welfare Agency) or you find local events to raise awareness, the important thing is to get involved. It’s also important to remember that April is only the beginning–staying vigilant and engaged in your family and community throughout the year is the best defense we have against future abuse and neglect.

For too long, the victims and families who have suffered from abuse and neglect have been silent. April is a time for these voices to be heard, loud and clear. Now is the time–take a stand against abuse and neglect!

Child Care Safety

| Admin

The safety of a child care facility is perhaps the most important element of a quality childcare program. They could offer the most spectacular curriculum, but if the children are not provided the safest environment possible for learning and are put at risk, it can’t be called quality childcare. This fact is reflected in parental attitudes to child care safety, most of whom say that safety is one of the most important criteria they consider when choosing quality childcare. Keep reading for a brief survey of what to look for in terms of safety when choosing a childcare provider.

Kids running school age

Quality Childcare means safe Childcare!

Adequate Supervision

This one seems obvious, but it is best to mention it just in case. An important factor when choosing a childcare center is the childcare center’s teacher to child ratio. There are some well accepted standards for childcare teacher/caregiver to child ratio. And childcare centers with NAEYC accreditation are required to maintain a better caregiver to child ratio than non-accredited child care centers.

Before you enroll your child in a childcare program, ask the facility about its caregiver to child ratio and their policy on supervision and how caregivers handle transitional situations, such as playground supervision.

Also, ask if the childcare staff are given background checks and what precautions are in place to prevent abuse.

Child Care Saftey: Health and Sanitation

In a child care setting, germs get passed around. It’s an unavoidable fact. But there are some things that can be done to avoid spreading sickness and illness. When visiting a childcare center:

Ask about their sick policy and what precautions they take to reduce the potential for disease and illness transmission. Do they have a hand washing policy? If they serve food, make sure that they are ensuring that they are using standard food handling safety techniques

Child Care Safety: Products and Equipment

We have all heard the many news stories about recalls of childcare toys and other equipment. The most recent scare concerned toys coming from China contaminated with lead. When visiting a childcare center, ask if they are kept reasonably informed of any recalls or warnings of the products that children play and learn with.

Child Care Safety: Poisons and Toxins

Sadly, the leading cause of death in young children is due to the accidental ingestion of toxic or poisonous substances. Make sure the child care center you choose has a policy designed to keep children away from toxins and poisons. Ask about where they store medications and other chemicals and if they are kept locked most of the time.

Childcare Safety at Watch Me Grow

Watch Me Grow considers the safety of your child and all the children in our programs to be our highest priority as professional caregivers. There is nothing that we take more seriously than their safety. We maintain a low ratio of children to professional and caring staff, who take pride in what they do and work to make learning as safe as possible. With Watch Me Grow North Las Vegas, you are assured a quality child care program in a safe and loving environment.

Teaching Kids The Importance of Stranger Danger

| Brandie Heiseler

Teaching your children about whom they can trust and whom they should avoid is an important part of safety education. Children can be very trusting. They are themselves innocent and have not yet developed a healthy sense of skepticism about the motives of others. “Stranger Danger” is the easy to remember term used to impart a sense of awareness about strangers.

Teaching this skill is a delicate balancing act. You don’t want your child to come away with the impression that everyone is out to get them. This is not only psychologically straining for the child; it can also be dangerous. There are some instances in which seeking the help of a trusted stranger is exactly what is called for. Read more to learn about stranger danger.

What is Stranger Danger?

Stranger Danger

Teaching your little one about Stranger Danger keeps them safe!

“Stranger danger” is a catchy little phrase that sums up the danger posed by strangers to children. When teaching your child about stranger danger, it is essential to make the distinction between “good” and “bad” strangers. Failing to do so could result in your child avoiding the people to whom they should turn to for help in the case of an emergency or dangerous situation.

Teach your child to avoid strangers with these simple directives:

  • Tell them to keep away from strangers who approach them for any reason and to notify a trusted adult if this occurs. Teach your child to be skeptical of anyone asking for help finding a lost pet etc. There are very few legitimate reasons for a strange adult to initiate contact with a child.
  • Children should be discouraged from accepting treats, candy or any other gift from strangers. It is vitally important that they understand that it is never okay to get in a car with a stranger.
  • Teach your child that it is okay to say “no” to the request of a strange adult.
  • Teach them to run, scream and notify other adults if a stranger grabs, pulls or tries to lure them into a car.

It is also important to teach your child how to recognize a “good” stranger. Make sure that they understand that there are more good strangers than there are bad. Fireman, police officers, teachers, security guards and store personnel are all examples of good strangers that your child should turn to in the case of an emergency or when they are lost or in need of help.

Keeping Kids Safe at Watch Me Grow North Las Vegas

At Watch Me Grow North Las Vegas, we are dedicated to keeping your child safe. Our child care center makes use of video monitoring and our staff is regularly trained to respond to emergencies of all types. All Watch Me Grow staff are required to submit to an intensive FBI background check. The single entry check-in and check-out policy at Watch Me Grow ensures that your child cannot leave the campus unless both you, as the parent, and we, as the child care provider, are certain that they are in the right hands. If you are looking for a child care provider that provides quality programs in a safe and secure environment, Watch Me Grow North Las Vegas is the place for you! Come Check out our programs and contact us today!