Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Give hope to a child.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and April 6, 2005 has been declared National Day of Hope. Consider these statistics from Childhelp USA:

* "More than three children die each day as a result of abuse in the home."
* "In the United States, approximately three million child abuse reports are made each year—on average, one report every ten seconds."
* "The actual incidence of abuse and neglect is estimated to be three times greater than the number reported to authorities."

Outraged? You should be. There are lots of ways you can prevent child abuse:

* If you need help or suspect abuse, call 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453). Professional counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in 140 languages. Spread the word about this number. It may be someone's lifeline in a time of trouble.

* If your behavior toward your child worries you, GET HELP. Learn how to prevent child abuse and neglect. Information and resource packets on promoting safe children and healthy families are available in Spanish and English.

* Learn more about child abuse from the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Health and Human Services.

* SPEAK UP! If you are with people who are discussing and approving of abusive behavior (their own, or someone else's), present an alternative way to interact with children. You can do it in a way that is nonjudgmental and nonthreatening, but suggests that such behavior is hurtful and unacceptable. Make sure your words and behavior reflect what you believe. If a story is mean, and not funny, don't laugh. For ideas on how to do this click here or call 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453).

* Donate time, money, or resources to national and local agencies that work to prevent child abuse through hotlines, education, counseling, training, treatment and more. Consider Childhelp USA which sponsors the 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) hotline and many other services. They can direct you to local resources as well.

* Consider being a foster parent so you can provide a loving, caring, safe home for a child. May is National Foster Care Month. (If you are interested in adoption, consult the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse.)

Think of the eighteen children who were abused while you read this post. Think of the three children who will die today as a result of abuse in the home. Are you ready to act?

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