Child Abuse Affects Every Demographic - Children's Program Helps Build Community Resilience.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, where we can bring awareness to the many families in our community that are working towards having healthy relationships. The struggles that every family faces vary by circumstance, and there is no big book on how to parent your child.
Child abuse is such a heavy term, and many people don't know what it truly encompasses. It includes physical, emotional, and verbal abuse, and neglect. Most often, people are not intentionally trying to harm their children, but they may not know that hitting is physical abuse, or maybe they had never seen a healthy relationship with their parents or family and they are following what they learned.
Tahoe SAFE Alliance staff, school staff, child care providers, law enforcement, health care providers, and many more people are mandated to report any stories or witnessing of child abuse to CPS. Once a report is made, we as reporters have no control over what happens next. Often, people are scared to disclose or to consider what might happen with involvement of CPS. I spend a lot of time explaining to families what a response from CPS might look like, and that their focus is on safety and that they can help the family with safety planning and parenting skills.
At Tahoe SAFE Alliance, our services are voluntary. When a family engages in services, an amazing community response happens. We all work together to help them understand healthy relationships and healthy family responses. Any time Tahoe SAFE Alliance is working with another agency, we get consent from the person to share their information and work collaboratively; it is entirely their decision. We provide education to a family or individual about healthy relationships, the effects of domestic violence on kids, and will have informal conversations about coping and parenting skills.
We also provide individual therapy to children and survivors of domestic violence, legal and educational advocacy, and help coordinate and make referrals, and we offer many more services to survivors of domestic violence. Child abuse affects every demographic. What each of us can do is model healthy behaviors, ask for help if we feel we need it, and report any abuse we see or hear about. All of it builds resilience in our kids and our community.
Children's Program Manager
Tahoe SAFE Alliance