The month of April is devoted to celebrating everything we can do to transform our community into a place that cares about – and actively supports – families and children. By ensuring that all parents in our community have access to quality childcare, affordable health services, parenting education resources, and substance abuse and mental health programs, we make progress toward what the month stands for: April is Child Abuse Prevention Month.
The majority of child abuse cases stem from situations and conditions that are entirely preventable in an engaged and supportive community. A community that cares about early childhood development, parent support and maternal mental health, for instance, is more likely to see families nurturing children who are born healthy and enter school ready to learn. Towns that work to create good school systems and who come together to ensure that affordable housing is available in good, safe neighborhoods are less likely to see stressed, isolated families who don’t know where to turn.
Child Abuse Prevention Month is about connecting all of these dots so that the solutions to child abuse receive the attention the public craves. We have to pay attention to the kinds of efforts that will prevent it from happening in the first place. Locally, the Children’s Aid Society offers many programs that can help prevent child abuse or neglect. The Adoption Program helps prospective adoptive families move through the adoption process to match them with a child who is in need of a loving family. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Clearfield County matches youth and adults for additional fun and friendship.
In the Child Care Center, we provide full and part-time child care for children, ages 6 weeks through 6th grade. The Healthy Marriage Program offers marriage education and enrichment activities to married couples. The purpose of the Nurturing Program is to strengthen families by giving parents and children the tools needed to make a happy home life. Pre-K Counts provides children ages 3 and 4 with skills necessary to successfully transition into kindergarten and succeed in school. To learn more about the programs that Children’s Aid Society offers, please call 765-2686. For other programs available to help prevent child abuse or neglect in Clearfield County, call INFO-LINK at 765-5014 or 1-800-494-5678.
The Women’s Health Task Force meets the first Thursday of each month, in Room 131 of the Multi Service Center, 650 Leonard Street in Clearfield, and beginning at noon. The next meeting will be held April 1 and all interested persons are invited to attend.
Teresa Guaglianone, Program Manager for Nurturing