Moffat County proclaims April as Child Abuse Prevention Month
In an effort to show support to case workers and to raise awareness locally, Moffat County Commissioners proclaimed April as Child Abuse Prevention Month within the county during Tuesday’s BOCC meeting.
The month of April is actually National Child Abuse Prevention Month, which is an annual observance in the United States dedicated to raising awareness and preventing child abuse. April has been designated Child Abuse Prevention Month in the United States since 1983.
“Throughout the state, each county’s Department of Human Services celebrates and acknowledges the month in different ways,” Moffat County Department of Human Services Director Annette Norton said. “For our county, I thought a proclamation was a good way to go to shine some light on Child Abuse Prevention Month, especially at this time right now where we have a lot of people at home and are having more time to spend with their families.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines child abuse and child maltreatment as, “all forms of physical and/or emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect or negligent treatment or commercial or other exploitation, resulting in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, survival, development or dignity in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust or power.”
In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) uses the term child maltreatment to refer to both acts of abuse, which include, “words or overt actions that cause harm, potential harm, or threat of harm to a child,” and acts of neglect, meaning, “the failure to provide for a child’s basic physical, emotional, or educational needs or to protect a child from harm or potential harm.”
The United States federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act defines child abuse and neglect as, at minimum, “any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation” and/or “an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.”
At Tuesday morning’s BOCC meeting, Norton read the proclamation to those in attendance over the phone, stating that child abuse has far-reaching affects on children that can be long-term.
“I wanted to acknowledge the national proclamation and how it applies to our community,” Norton said. “I also wanted to acknowledge and honor the case workers that work for our department. Though we don’t hear much about them, they are first responders.
“They continue to respond to reports of child abuse and neglect, and they’re in the homes with the families,” Norton added. “They’re still in our community checking on the safety of our children. I admire the work that they do, their integrity and their determination; I just wanted to honor them.”
While the case workers carry the heavy load of responding to the reports of child abuse and neglect, the goal of the proclamation for the month of April is to make people aware that child abuse prevention is a community issue.
As the old saying goes, it takes a village…
“It’s not just a department issue or a family issue; it’s a community issue,” Norton said. “Each one of us in the roles that we play personally and professionally, can play a role in preventing child maltreatment; it really does take a whole community to move the dial on this. We have the ability and the responsibility as community members to do our part to prevent child maltreatment.”
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