April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

March 25, 2015
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URBANA, Ill. – During National Child Abuse Prevention Month, University of Illinois Extension encourages parents to work to develop six factors that protect children against child abuse.

“The risk for neglect and abuse diminishes—and optimal outcomes for children, youth, and families are promoted—when parents have worked to develop six protective factors,” said U of I Extension family life educator Cara Allen.

Those factors are:

  • nurturing and attachment: the positive two-way emotional connection between caregiver and child
  • knowledge about parenting and child and youth development: helps parents know what to expect from their child and how to respond accordingly
  • parental resilience: the ability to deal with bad days or situations, forgive yourself when mistakes are made, and move ahead
  • social connections: having positive relationships with family, friends, and neighbors, and being able to call on them for help
  • concrete supports for parents: being able to access social services in the community, such as day-care subsidies, respite, etc.
  • social and emotional developmental well-being: parents can model how to express and handle emotion and how to develop healthy relationships with peers and adults

To build and promote these protective factors, U of I Extension’s family life team is devoting all April posts of its blog “Family Files: Facts for All Ages” (http://web.extension.illinois.edu/hkmw/eb380/) to helpful information for parents. These blog posts will be based upon Extension’s award-winning series, “Your Young Child,” which provides information on challenging developmental stages and suggestions on how to cope with these stages, she said.

“It’s critical to get all community members involved in protecting children. Focusing on ways to build and promote the six protective factors in every interaction with children and families is the best thing a community can do to prevent child maltreatment and promote optimal child development,” Allen said.

For more information on the “Your Young Child” series or the Family Files blog, please contact Cara Allen, family life educator, at cballn@illinois.edu or 309-837-3939.

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