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Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 22, 2018

Wearing blue to raise awareness

April begins child abuse prevention month
Apr 05, 2018

By Gretchen Teske, Mt. Pleasant News

 

Community Partnerships for Protecting Children (CPPC) is hoping to raise awareness for child abuse prevention by asking residents in Henry, Des Moines, Lee and Louisa counties to wear blue on Friday, April 6.

Arin Jones, Quad-City CPPC coordinator, says she hopes the “blue out” day, which is a kick off to April being child abuse prevention month, encourages people to want to learn more about abuse prevention. The CPPC is hosting events all month long with resources for families, businesses and the community to take part in.

The color blue and the pinwheel were chosen by Prevent Child Abuse of America to represent the cause. “It’s a symbol (the pinwheel) of the care free childhood that every child deserves,” she explains.

Jones has been the coordinator since 2012 and has always had an interest in working with children and families that need assistance. During college, she worked in a day care where two young girls had been in and out of foster care their whole lives. By working with them and building a relationship with them, she was able to see the impact she had on their lives, as well as the one they had on hers.

“It was the most rewarding relationship,” she says. The girl’s adoptive parents have sent her pictures that she now has in her office.

Building trusting and loving relationships between adults and children are one of the many ways to prevent abuse, she says.

“The number one protective factor against childhood trauma and toxic stress is a nurturing relationship with a stable, caring adult.”

By having an adult they can trust and rely on, children feel and are safer in their environments. Having a community of adults they can trust and rely on, she says, is just as important. “We’re really trying to work to bring the community together, and create a safety net for families,” she says.

That safety net consists of holding training events, educating the public and working with community sectors to create networking. She says the networking they do within the community is essential because it provides a resource for parents who may not know where to turn. Each month they meet with providers to determine what families are struggling with and how they can help to prevent other families from having the same complications. “We have a lot of resources, (and) we want to work with people in the community,” she says.

Two of the biggest risk factors for abuse are poverty and children in single parent households. The rates are especially higher when these two factors are combined. CPPC has created a poverty simulation on April 20 at 1:30 p.m. at Iowa Wesleyan to give the public a sense of what living in poverty could be like. “It’s an effective way to get that feeling for a brief moment,” she says.

She is hoping people will come away from the event with a stronger recognition of what living in poverty is like and that abuse can formulate in this kind of environment. “(We want people) to get informed that this is what poverty kind of creates,” she explains. “To you it seems like ridiculous behavior, when really it isn’t that simple. It’s not really a choice.”

According to Jones, giving people the choice to accept help is essential. “If we are all just more aware of stuff going on, we all can take part in having safer children,” she explains.

She encourages people to reach out to neighbors and parents to “show a little kindness.” By reaching out, the stress of the parent can be reduced and that is essential for preventing abuse. “It creates a huge amount of resilience against the effects of childhood traumas and continuous stress in their lives,” she explains. “It’s the cure.”

In the event that abuse is detected, Jones encourages contacting the Department of Human Services (DHS). Because there are many different types of abuse, there are no specific warning signs to look for. By calling DHS, no proof is required as the phone call is just considered a detailed release of information. “We need to look at reporting as a suspicion,” she says. “You’re just asking for a professional search to be done.”

Jones’s biggest hope for prevention month is that people will take away a sense of knowledge and understanding that this can happen in any community. The tag line for abuse prevention is “be the one”. She encourages everyone to “be the one” who prevents, reports or raises awareness about abuse. “I really want people to know that taking steps to prevent child abuse isn’t super complicated,” she says. “It’s part of every day life.”

For more information or to make a report visit:

preventchildabuse.org or call 1-800-362-2178.

 

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