MISSOURI (KFVS) - April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and there are things you can do to help prevent abuse and neglect.
According to Tim Decker, the director of the Missouri Department of Social Services Children's Division, the key is creating nurturing communities that in turn help strengthen families.
"Community members play a vital role in supporting parents and caregivers in activities that strengthen families and keep children safe," said Decker.
Parenthood isn't always easy. Dealing with the stress of everyday life, worries about money, work, or the daily demands of family life can become overwhelming.
So what can you do to help make your community more nurturing?
Meet your neighbors. Take part in your child's school or community activities. You can also get involved in local service organizations or join a group where parents and kids play or serve together.
The Children's Division offers these tips to make a family stronger and keep kids safe:
- Showing your child each day that he or she is loved by talking, smiling, or hugging
- Learning what children can do at different ages and better ways to parent
- Remaining positive and strong when you face a challenge or are under stress.
- Keeping helpful and supportive family, friends, and neighbors around you
- Showing your child you care about him or her; encourage children to talk about feelings
- Carefully choosing who cares for your child; not every relative or friend is a safe choice
- Getting help if you are unable to provide care, food, medical care, or keep your child safe
According to the department, the Children's Division received 72,388 reports of suspected abuse an neglect.
If you suspect abuse or neglect, you can call the Department of Social Services toll-free hotline at 1-800-392-3738 or 1-844-CAN-TELL.