Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Adults Should Know the 6 Steps to Preventing Child Abuse

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Adults Should Know the 6 Steps to Preventing Child Abuse

Article excerpt

By now, if you haven't read or seen "The Hunger Games," chances are you've at least heard about the plot. Protagonist Katniss Everdeen is 16 and a soon-to-be Joan of Arc archetype. Initially, she rescues her 12-year-old sister, Prim, from the agony of certain death in a televised battle. Eventually, she'll rescue others.

Some critics say the movie would carry an R rating if it were more like the novel's violent storyline, but bigger questions emerge in the themes of this drama.

What rings familiar to us about children being exploited and abused? Is it the adults who stand by and do nothing? In our world, the violence may not be as disturbing as "The Hunger Game" dystopia, but still adults don't step in and stop it.

During 2009, the state of Indiana received more than 90,000 reports of child abuse with nearly 25,000 of those substantiated. Of the child abuse-related fatalities, 67 percent involved victims younger than 3.

In our own real-world saga, adults can play significant roles in both intervening and preventing child abuse. Ideas and hope can be found in a new publication, "Preventing Child Maltreatment and Promoting Well-Being." The resource guide available at www.childwelfare.gov offers practical advice for parents, caregivers and counselors.

The manual identifies six "protective factors" that help prevent child abuse

1. Nurturing and Attachment: As babies grow and develop, it's best for their brains to have a few stable caregivers who provide consistent and frequent nurturing and love. Affection and physical care are critical pieces of prevention.

2. Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development: Parents often say "there's not an owner's manual" for kids, but in reality there's lots of information about how to be an effective, loving parent. The more information a parent can absorb, the better equipped he or she will be in avoiding abuse. …

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