10 Ways YOU Can Help Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect

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All April, D.A. Blodgett – St. John’s has been focused on National Child Abuse and Prevention Month. Sometimes, preventing child abuse may seem like an insurmountable task. But there are ways, big and small, that every West Michigan resident can help. YOU can make a difference in the life of a child or a struggling family. That difference can come in many forms. Here is a list, big and small, of ways you can help.

  1. Become a foster parent. When a child is abused or neglected, foster parents are able to provide a safe and loving home until their family situation can be improved. By fostering, you can help prevent these children from experiencing ongoing abuse.
  2. Become a mentor for a young mother in need. Becoming a mother can be difficult whoever you are. Sisters-In-Support is a program where young mothers in need are matched with female mentors. Volunteer “Sisters” act as friends and role models to help these women learn to cope with parenting, school, and financial responsibilities.
  3. Become a mentor for a child with an incarcerated parent. While there are many programs that reach out to the incarcerated, very few address the needs of their children. The Big Brothers Big Sisters Amachi Mentoring Program matches these children with compassionate and supportive mentors.
  4. Donate basic care items to families in need. Families in need often need small, everyday items to not only care for their family, but also to feel supported by their community. Families always need diapers, games, activities or gift certificates to keep families active and having fun.
  5. Be a good neighbor. Prevention can be as easy as friendship. Often, struggling families just need a listening ear. If you notice a neighbor or friend struggling with parenting, ask what you can do to help, and tell them you are there for them.
  6. Be a good example. Be a good example to all children and families you come in contact with. Sometimes life is challenging, but by setting a good example for parents and children you are helping pave the way for a new generation with less abuse and neglect.
  7. Support children leaving the foster care system. Moving out on your own for the first time is scary. Imagine not having the support, both financial and emotional, that most young adults have from their families. Through your support of these young adults, you can help them stay on a positive path.
  8. Support DABSJ’s home based services. DABSJ offers several home based services that provide preventative support to families in need. We offer our Young Delinquent Intervention Program to children under 11 that have broken the law, intensive in-home family therapy to families with a teen who exhibits out-of-control behaviors, and we are part of the Kent School Services Network that provides mental health services to children and families right at the school.  Help support these families with basic everyday care items.
  9. Donate to our Foster Care Bag Drive. When children are removed from their home due to abuse or neglect, they generally don’t have time to pack their clothing and favorite toys. Our goal is to make the transition from their family to a foster family as supportive as possible. For a list of items needed, click here.
  10. Share your interests or talents. DABSJ offers numerous ways to share your time, talent, or treasure with children. Annually, DABSJ serves thousands of children in need. Whatever your available time, whatever your interests, we have an opportunity for you! For more information on ways to get involved, click here.

If you would like more information on any of the 10 ways to help, contact us at 616.361.5227 or info@dabsj.org. Together we can help prevent child abuse and neglect!

Help us mark National Child Abuse Prevention Month

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April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

I wanted to share with you the billboards DABSJ has throughout Greater Grand Rapids this month.

So why this month? Why this campaign? Why these billboards?

 Preventing child abuse and neglect can seem like a daunting task. Statistics like “every day 6 children suffer from abuse or neglect in KentCounty” can seem insurmountable. But there are things the average KentCounty resident can do. There are things we can do together to lower these figures.

Why this month? Because this month serves as a reminder that there are things YOU can do to help those 6 children a day suffering.  You can become a foster parent!

Why this campaign? There are real children behind these statistics and there are very real and often simple things you can do to help them. You can spend 1 to 3 hours a week serving as a mentor through Big Brothers Big Sisters. You can donate diapers to a family in need so they can maintain a safe and healthy environment for their children to grow up in. You can be a good neighbor to a struggling single mother next door through our Sisters in Support mentoring program. You can listen and be a shoulder to cry on.

The statistics alone are shocking but only with the love and support of our community, can the 2,626 children that suffered abuse or neglect in KentCounty last year overcome their trauma.

We hope April can be more than just another month and that it will be the month when we rally around protecting children from abuse and neglect. To learn more about ways you can help, visit us at www.dabsj.org or “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dabsj