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April 9, 2018

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time when child advocates, agencies, and communities come together to share ways to prevent child abuse and keep kids safe. This week, we’re focusing on how building up strong communities can help to prevent child abuse. 

Children’s Bureau, within the U.S. Department of Heath and Human Services, has provided resources on simple ways that everyone can help to build strong communities. Families are more likely to thrive in nurturing communities, which provide safe places for children to play, support the availability of food, shelter, and medical care for families, and fosters a culture in which neighbors can get to know and help one another.

Here are some simple ways to start building strong communities today, from www.childwelfare.gov:

  • Meet and greet your neighbors. If you have lived in your home or apartment for some time now and haven’t met your neighbors, now is the perfect time! If you are new to the neighborhood or see new residents moving in, it’s a great time to get to know fellow residents. Bringing over baked goods or a small gift for new neighbors is always welcome!
  • Go to a parents’ meeting at your child’s school. By getting to know fellow parents and school staff, you can help to build a community and support system within your child’s school.
  • Participate in an activity at your local library or community center. Libraries have great, free resources for kids and families. For a list of local kid-friendly events (like story time, art class, and early literacy programs) at the St. Louis County Library, click here, and for the St. Louis Public Library, click here.
  • Connect with local parents to set up a play group at a neighborhood park. This can be a great way for your children to socialize with other kids, as well as a way for you to get to know their parents and caregivers.
  • Volunteer at your children’s school. Many schools rely on parent volunteers, and it can be a great way to get more involved with your local school as well as getting connected with teachers, staff, and other parents.
  • Attend local city council or school board meetings. Let your voice be heard in local government and let them know how important resources for families are in your community. Resources like parks, strong schools, and accessible services are vital for families.

By taking a few steps to get to know your neighbors, becoming involved in local resources, and supporting families, we can all do a part to strengthen families and prevent child abuse!