April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and in the U.S. parents, communities and agencies continue work to reduce and eliminate abuse and neglect.
One of the most recent efforts by the federal government is the Protect Our Kids Act of 2012, written “to establish a commission to develop a national strategy and recommendations for reducing fatalities resulting from child abuse and neglect.” This legislation’s efforts are coming to life through the recent creation of the Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities. The hope for these efforts is that they can help answer one of the biggest issues facing child abuse prevention efforts – the lack of a systematic approach and strategy to prevention.
Renewed prevention efforts are vital to children in the U.S.. Although child abuse rates have fallen, child abuse fatalities have not. According to the Every Child Matters education fund “15,510 children are known to have died between 2001 and 2010, which is about 2½ times the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.” Even more troubling is the acknowledgement that these numbers are actually considered a severe underestimation of the actual number of fatalities because there is no standard national reporting system for tracking. The commission will be working to find ways to bridge the reporting gap between state and federal child welfare agencies and improve the quality of data collection.
In spite of needing ongoing improvement in prevention efforts, the U.S. is still a leader in child abuse prevention. In March 2013, Ghana announced participation in International Child Abuse Month to improve prevention efforts in the country citing the U.S. example of reducing abuse statistics through public awareness events, education and ongoing research.
For a look at what some of these prevention efforts look like, check out this video:
Pinwheels for Prevention 2013