April marked National Child Abuse Prevention month. This is a great time to recognize the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse, not only in the spring months, but all year long. We all have a special role to play when it comes to nurturing the children of our community.
Let’s consider some of the programs that help our kids become successful leaders, parents, and community members:
1. Kids First License Plate Program: Raising Awareness About Child Abuse in NC
The North Carolina Children’s Trust Fund (NC CTF) helps strengthen families and communities by providing funds for parenting programs in North Carolina communities. The Kids First License Plate Program was created to directly benefit NC CTF. Participants pay an additional $25 fee to get a special license plate and $15 of that fee goes back to the NC CTF.
Kids First license plate sales help bring evidence-based family strengthening programs (like the programs we offer through the Exchange Family Center) to more families and communities. For each additional 500 license plates sold every year, NC CTF receives $7,500 more to put into services that directly benefit children and families in NC.
In addition to purchasing a Kids First license plate, you can work with partners in your community (e.g., law enforcement, schools, public libraries, families, local businesses, and local media outlets) to spread awareness about this great program.
What a great way to support Child Abuse Prevention!
2. Successful Interventions Promote Protective Factors
Raising awareness about child abuse in our communities also includes educating members of our communities about the research concerning the best ways to protect children and support families.
Child abuse and neglect can touch any type of family, but we know that there are certain risk factors that increase the potential for abuse and neglect. Psychologists and others have studied these risk factors quite extensively.
There is growing interest, however, in understanding the complex ways in which risk and protective factors interact within the context of a child’s family, community, and society. And a more recent body of research shows that successful interventions should not only reduce risk factors, but also promote protective factors to ensure child and family well-being.
Protective Factors for Prevention
According to the CDC, a combination of individual, relational, community, and societal factors contribute to the risk of child abuse and neglect. Certain characteristics, such as a parent’s history of maltreatment, substance abuse or mental health issues in the family and parental characteristics like young age and low education, have been found to increase children’s risk of being maltreated.
Many of the above risk factors are complex psychological and social issues. As much as we would like to, we cannot wave a magic wand and take away risk factors where they exist.
Fortunately, reducing risk factors is not our only option for protecting kids from maltreatment. Protective factors can also buffer children from being abused or neglected. Research shows that identifying and understanding protective factors are as important for children’s success.
Family Protective Factors:
- Adequate housing.
- Parental employment.
- Nurturing parenting skills.
- Stable family relationships.
- Household rules and appropriate supervision.
- Access to health care and social services.
- Caring adults outside the family who can serve as role models or mentors.
- Communities that support parents and take responsibility for meeting the needs of families.
3. We All Can Do Our Part
Our programs are designed to promote these protective factors. We offer evidence-based services that support children, parents, and families. Our staff work closely with parents, caregivers, and teachers to implement strategies for creating home and classroom environments to help all children thrive.
As a 501(c)3 non-profit, we rely on funds from programs like the Kids First License Plate Program and generous donations to fund our programs. We would love to reduce or eliminate our waiting list and we can do so with your support.
If you are able to donate to EFC or other community programs that support families and children, we would be so grateful. No gift of your time or resources is too small.
Supporting children is something we can all do together!