National Child Abuse Prevention Month is our opportunity to recognize the families and communities working together to address and heal the trauma of child abuse. At For The Children we hope that every child can experience unconditional love, hope and safety. To do this, we mobilize local churches to run our premier programs: Royal Family KIDS Camp and Mentoring, which create life-changing moments that have the power to heal and restore a child who has experienced complex developmental trauma.
This month is also a call to action to address this tragic and pervasive issue in our communities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at least 1 in 7 children have experienced child abuse or neglect in the past year in the United States. Further, children are often placed in foster care because they have been obviously affected. One thing is certain; when children are hurting we must step in to help them.
What can we do to prevent, address and heal the trauma of child abuse and neglect in our communities?
The first step to addressing child abuse and neglect is education. We believe that local churches are uniquely positioned to educate their members about the effects of child abuse. The more people know, the easier it becomes to recognize the signs and take action to protect the children in our communities. By providing proven tools and helpful training, For The Children equips them to carry the torch forward effectively.
- Create a Safe Environment
Safety comes with clarity. Churches, schools, and other organizations that work with children must have policies and procedures in place to ensure children's safety. At For The Children, we assure the safety of our children with our Child Protection Plan, which is designed to qualify eligible volunteers, identify inappropriate behavior, and limit the impact of abuse. Find more about how we create a safe environment for our children at our safety page.
- Encourage Reporting of Abuse & Neglect
The path to hope is truth. Far too many cases of child abuse and neglect go unreported. It is essential for church leaders to encourage members to report suspicions of abuse and neglect in helpful, appropriate ways. This can be done by providing clear paths for reporting abuse to informed and understanding authorities, and supporting those that come forward.
- Support families and children
Many cases of child abuse and neglect occur due to stress and pressure on families. Notably, children living in poverty are 5x more likely to experience abuse and neglect. Local churches have always stood in this gap to provide resources and support to families struggling with financial issues, health problems, and other stressors. For the Children supplements this timeless labor of love by equipping local churches to provide children in foster care a safe, supportive and fun environment, regardless of what they may be struggling to overcome.
- Advocate for Child-Friendly Policies
Advocating for child-friendly policies at the government level is crucial. Community leaders and church members can be powerful advocates for policies that prioritize children's safety and well-being. Examples of proven child-friendly policies include providing robust funding for child protection services, supporting strict laws and penalties for child abusers, and making mental health services more accessible.
Our Call to Action
Eliminating child abuse and neglect is a collective responsibility. As members of a church community, we believe that a world free of relational trauma is possible when we take action together. Join us in creating communities that are safe and nurturing places for our children to grow - learn how to start an FTC Chapter at your local church.