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In 1983, Congress declared April National Child Abuse Prevention Month to recognize victims of abuse and bring awareness to programs designed to prevent crimes against children.

You can play a part in promoting the social and emotional well-being of children in your community through local advocacy groups such as Massachusetts Citizens for Children or The Children’s Trust Fund (CTF) which provides parenting programs in your area.

Child Abuse Prevention Month is also a good time to make sure you’re aware of how you can help protect children in your community year round by following these three steps:

1. Make sure you know the definitions of child abuse and neglect and learn the how to spot the warning signs.

2. Learn how to manage your anger and seek help when caring for children. You can call the Parental Stress Line 24/7 at 1-800-632-8188. The Children’s Trust Fund also offers expert advice and support for parents including explaining age-appropriate behavior and best practices for providing discipline. Be sure to check out OneToughJob.org (available in English or en Español) for more information. New parents should read All Babies Cry.

3. Report suspected cases of abuse to the Department of Children & Families (DCF). You can file a report at any time by calling the 24-hour Child-at-Risk Hotline (800-792-5200). If you’re a mandated reporter, you are required by law to report suspected abuse and may find this guide helpful.

You can also support the mission of the DCF Kids Fund to ensure that the 40,000 children served by the Department of Children and Families are provided with basic necessities and enrichment.

Looking for more ways to get involved? Join CTF in Step Up for Prevention to experience an installation representing the number of children abused in Massachusetts taking place On April 4th at the State House and April 12th at Pittsfield City Hall.

 

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