Governor Kim Reynolds has recognized April as Child Abuse Prevention Month with a Proclamation signing. The theme of this year’s awareness and impact campaign is “Growing a Better Tomorrow for All Children, Together.”
Prevent Child Abuse Iowa recognizes the importance of community-based support for all children and families. “We can build healthier, safer, and thriving communities if we take the same approach to raising families that we do to tending a community garden on a shared piece of land,” said Greg Bellville, Executive Director of Prevent Child Abuse Iowa. “Too often, our society thinks of raising healthy children as a parent or caregiver’s responsibility alone. In reality, we all benefit when groups of people work together to collectively care for children, who grow up to become successful, contributing adults.”
Throughout CAP Month, Prevent Child Abuse Iowa, its parent organization, and other chapters, affiliates, and supporting organizations are using the community garden metaphor to reinforce the message that “Every day, we help positive childhood experiences take root.”
“Research shows that positive childhood experiences in nurturing environments provide fertile ground for physical and mental health, learning, and social skills,” explained Dr. Melissa Merrick, president and CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America. “By preventing child abuse and neglect we aim to holistically improve the lives of all families and the communities they live in.”
This is the second year that CAP Month has taken place during the COVID-19 pandemic. The coronavirus outbreak and its subsequent losses have changed the world permanently, and prevention professionals are still working to understand the pandemic’s repercussions for incidents of child abuse and neglect.
The risk to our state’s children for experiencing child abuse and neglect in times of extreme stress and uncertainty is quite high. COVID-19 has added stressors to the lives of parents and caregivers, such as loss of employment, loss of income due to lack of paid leave, school and business closings that necessitate new childcare and homeschool arrangements, and food insecurity. The usual social connections, community services, and activities that serve as protective factors against child abuse and neglect may not exist in this extraordinary time of physical distancing.
The success of our community relies on each of us to build connections that will strengthen families and build happy and safe childhoods for our kids. We all have a role in preventing child abuse. We thank Gov. Reynolds for bringing light to this important issue. The Child Abuse Prevention Month Proclamation signed by Gov. Reynolds can be found below.
Whereas, our children are our most valuable resource and provide hope for the future of Iowa; and together we can support safe, healthy families in our communities by partnering to protect children; and
Whereas, due to the global pandemic, children in our state are facing increased risk factors for child abuse and neglect and children suffering from child abuse are at increased risk for negative social, professional, and health outcomes later in life; and
Whereas, child abuse is 100% preventable and the cost of treating the impacts of child abuse is significantly higher than the cost of preventing it; and research continually shows that preventing child abuse and other Adverse Childhood Experiences drastically reduces the number of major health crises facing our country; and
Whereas, communities can ensure child abuse prevention programs succeed through local partnerships, and every child can have a great childhood by making sure each family has the support and education they need in raising their children in safe, nurturing environments; and
Whereas, positive social supports for children and adults are key factors to improving social well-being, reducing the risk of child abuse in Iowa, developing resiliency and healing from trauma;
Now Therefore, I Governor, Kim Reynolds, do hereby proclaim April 2021 as Child Abuse Prevention Month.
In Testimony Whereof, I have hereunto subscribed my name and caused the Great Seal of the State of Iowa to be affixed. Done at Des Moines this 1st Day of April in the Year of our Lord Two Thousand Twenty One.