To the editor:
April 4, 2012
April is National Child Abuse Awareness Month. Even though the topic may make us uncomfortable, we need to be aware that child abuse and neglect exist in our community. Hood River County’s rate is slightly below the state average; however, 49 of our children were victims in 2010. Because none of us want children to suffer, let’s turn our thoughts and energy to prevention.
Yes, we can prevent child abuse. How? There are many different ways to choose from, and they all involve being supportive…of children, of their parents, and of the important role that parenting plays in our society. We can: offer to watch a neighbor’s children before the challenges of single parenting become overwhelming; mentor a young mom or dad who never had the good fortune of experiencing positive parenting in their own lives; invite a classmate’s parents to go to a parenting class with us; report suspicions of abuse or neglect to the authorities; advocate for pro-child and pro-family legislation; work toward educational achievement and poverty reduction; and financially support prevention programs that do this good work on your behalf.
Our experience at Families First and New Parent Services is that all parents love their children, want to be good parents and are doing the best they know how to with the limited tools they have. Those of us who won the childhood lottery of having nurturing parents are in a position to pay it forward – preventing child abuse and neglect through supporting, mentoring, advocating and giving.
Karen Enns, Program Director, The Next Door