April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. 

BlueRibbon_Small_080829Winston-Salem, N.C., April 1, 2016 –– All children deserve to be free from the threat of violence and neglect. Family Services will emphasize this basic human right at a special event that will take place at 11:45 a.m. on Friday, April 8, at the Sarah Y. Austin Head Start Center (2050 Big House Gaines Blvd, 27101). The community is invited to attend and help “Ring Out Child Abuse” in Forsyth County.

The Ring Out Child Abuse event will be held in recognition of National Child Abuse Prevention Month. It is one of several events featured by SCAN (Stop Child Abuse Now) and its partners. Speakers will include Council Member Derwin Montgomery, SCAN’s Deputy Director Jaime Ledbetter, Family Services President and CEO Bob Feikema, a special reading of the “Blue Ribbon Story,” and performances by preschoolers who are enrolled in Head Start. A child will ring the bell for one minute in remembrance of child victims in the community.

In North Carolina, 128,005 children were referred last year to local Department of Social Service (DSS) agencies for possible abuse and neglect; 31,899 of these children were confirmed victims. Twenty-eight children died at the hand of a parent or caregiver in North Carolina in 2012. Each year more than 3,000,000 children in the US are reported abused or neglected, and approximately 1,000,000 of those cases are confirmed and/or substantiated.

Prevention is the best defense for children and families. This month and throughout the year, Family Services encourages all individuals and organizations to play a role in making Winston-Salem/Forsyth County a community that ensures all children and families are safe, secure, and able to reach their full potential. By ensuring that parents have the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to care for their children, we can help prevent child abuse and neglect by making meaningful connections with children, youth and families in our communities.

Research shows that protective factors are present in healthy families. Promoting these factors is among the most effective ways to reduce the risk of child abuse and neglect. They are:

  • Nurturing and attachment
  • Knowledge of parenting and of child and youth development
  • Parental resilience
  • Social connections
  • Concrete supports for parents
  • Social and emotional competence of children

“Our community plays an important role in protecting children and strengthening families,” said Bob Feikema. “Everyone’s participation is critical. Focusing on ways to connect families with resources that enable them to handle difficult situations without violence is the best thing our community can do to strengthen families and prevent child abuse and neglect.”

For more information about Ring Out Child Abuse, please contact Maria Rebella: 336.608.9431 or mrebella@familyservicesforsyth.org