Prevent Child Abuse Nebraska Recognizes Every Community’s Role in Supporting Thriving Families

April Is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

Prevent Child Abuse Nebraska recognizes the importance of community-based support for all children and families during National Child Abuse Prevention Month in April. Prevent Child Abuse Nebraska and other Bring Up Nebraska partners are encouraging individuals and organizations to participate.

“April is a time to promote ways everyone can help build on existing strengths, or Protective Factors, in children, families and communities. Research and experience tells us that increasing Protective Factors improves the safety, strength and well-being of all, even through hard times,” said Kathy Stokes of Nebraska Children and Families Foundation, the home of the Prevent Child Abuse Nebraska chapter.

Equally important is recognizing that the time to act is now. COVID-19 has made life difficult for everyone—especially children and families. Pandemic-related job loss, financial difficulties, social isolation, and disruption of school and other routines has created more stress for young adults and families. Support from family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and others can reduce that stress and make a positive difference for anyone who is struggling.

“Research shows that positive childhood experiences in nurturing environments provide fertile ground for physical and mental health, learning, and social skills,” explained Dr. Melissa Merrick, President and CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America. “By preventing child abuse and neglect we aim to holistically improve the lives of all families and the communities they live in.”

Governor Ricketts signed a proclamation declaring April Child Abuse Prevention Month in Nebraska.

 Here, DHHS CEO Dannette Smith (left) poses with First Lady Shore, (right) who is holding the proclamation.
Here, DHHS CEO Dannette Smith (left) poses with First Lady Shore, (right) who is holding the proclamation.

Several other communities across the state will also have local proclamations.

Another hallmark of Child Abuse Prevention Month are Pinwheels for Prevention. Since 2008, Prevent Child Abuse America has used blue pinwheels to symbolize the happy and healthy childhood we want for every child. Children who grow up with nurturing relationships and supportive communities are more academically successful and are more likely to grow up to be productive members of society. Blue pinwheels also remind us that everyone can play a role in supporting children and their families.

On April 2, several Bring Up Nebraska partner organizations, and including First Lady Susanne Shore and DHHS CEO Dannette Smith met to plant blue pinwheels on the lawn of the Governor’s Residence.

On April 2, several Bring Up Nebraska partner organizations, and including First Lady Susanne Shore and DHHS CEO Dannette Smith met to plant blue pinwheels on the lawn of the Governor’s Residence.

There will be many other pinwheel gardens across the state during April.

Prevent Child Abuse Nebraska wants individuals to understand that small actions can make a big difference in a child’s life and a parent’s as well. It’s possible to help families and communities thrive by recognizing and incorporating some of these simple things:

  • Spread the word and encourage members of your network to share stories about how they take small but impactful steps to support children and families in their communities.
  • Contact your elected officials and urge them to support programs that promote safe healthy childhoods and family-friendly policies such as paid family leave and earned income tax credits.
  • Follow Nebraska Children and Families Foundation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and share our posts widely—and encourage your friends and family to do the same. Use the hashtags #BringUpNebraska and #CAPMonth to let us know you’re committed to helping children, families, and entire communities to thrive.

For more suggestions from the Bring Up Nebraska partners on how people can support children and families in their community go to BringUpNebraska.org.

Another great resource is the 2021/2022 Prevention Resource Guide   https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/preventing/preventionmonth/resources/resource-guide/ This guide is designed for all who work in communities to strengthen families and is a publication of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Administration for Children and Families; Administration on Children, Youth and Families; and Children’s Bureau.

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Nebraska Children and Families Foundation supports children, young adults and families at risk with the overall goal of giving our state's most vulnerable kids what they need to reach their full potential. We do this by building strong communities that support families so their children can grow up to be thriving, productive adults.

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