Covid-19 has made life difficult for everyone. No one is immune to frustrations and fear brought about by these unprecedented times. Vulnerable families and children face an especially difficult time. Even though the risk to our children’s physical health from the outbreak itself appears to be low, the risk to our children for experiencing child abuse and neglect in times of extreme stress and uncertainty is actually quite high. April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and it is a time when organizations involved in caring and supporting vulnerable families and children work together to bring awareness about the role each of us plays in ensuring that children, families and entire communities thrive. As all of us struggle with the realities of COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to keep these families and children top of mind. School and workplace closings can increase stress in parents’ lives, resulting in loss of income due to lack of paid leave; an unexpected or irregular need for child care and even food insecurity when school meal programs and other valuable resources are limited or even unavailable. Additionally, an unintended consequence of social distancing is isolation, which contradicts science proving that social and emotional connectedness and support are protective factors that help families overcome this stress. Parent Promise/Prevent Child Abuse Oklahoma recommends the following ways to help raise awareness and impact positive change virtually during this year’s Child Abuse Prevention Month.
- Show support for children and families by wearing blue this Friday, April 3. Post a picture or video of yourself on your favorite social media platform(s) and include the #WearBlueDay2020 hashtag.
- Stay in contact with your elected representatives to let them know you support family friendly policies, such as paid sick and family leave. Let them know you support the expansion of evidence-based home visiting programs like the ones provided by Parent Promise, so we can help families cope with stress and trauma. Prevent Child Abuse America is hosting a virtual Digital Advocacy Day on Tuesday, April 28. Look for more information about this later in the month.
- Follow Parent Promise/Prevent Child Abuse Oklahoma on Facebook and share our posts widely – and encourage your family and friends to do the same. Use the hashtags #GreatChildhoods and #CAPMonth to let us know you’re committed to helping children, families and entire communities to thrive.
As we all do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19, we understand more than ever that safe, stable and nurturing relationships and environments are necessary to ensure that children grow up happy and healthy. Every positive outcome we want in Oklahoma begins with raising healthy and resilient children. You can help programs like Parent Promise continue to do our part to keep families we serve connected and protected by spreading the word that all children deserve to grow up in safe, healthy and nurturing homes.