Child abuse prevention starts with meaningful connections and awareness

Pittsboro, NC – On April 19, 2021, the Chatham County Board of Commissioners proclaimed April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. The Chatham County Department of Social Services is calling attention to this issue that greatly impacts the lives of the county’s most vulnerable residents; factors due to the pandemic could make these children even more at risk. 

On April 1, Chatham County employees wore blue in honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month.

“Now more than ever, we are reminded of the importance of meaningful connections in our lives and how those connections can help protect against child abuse and other negative life outcomes,” said Chatham County Board of Commissioners Chair Mike Dasher. “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, individuals and families have been isolated from one another, and they have less access to their usual places of gathering such as schools and extended family get-togethers. We want to take this opportunity to spotlight the issue of child abuse and encourage everyone to be more aware and take action if they suspect abuse or neglect.”

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network and Prevent Child Abuse NC both provide resources for families related to the impacts of child abuse and neglect and have added information about coping with COVID-19. They recommend keeping a regular daily routine, limiting media exposure, and maintaining connections with friends and extended family through phone calls, texting or online communication platforms.

“What we have come to learn about child abuse prevention is that it’s really about making connections, providing help to your neighbor in need and making available services and programs in the community that provide treatment and support,” said Chatham County Department of Social Services Director Jennie Kristiansen. “We also know that in order for children to be safe, healthy, and well, families need access to life’s basics like housing, electricity, employment opportunities and childcare.”

Individuals who are concerned about the safety of a child, may contact the Chatham County Department of Social Services at 919-542-6988 or after hours at 919-542-2911. Everyone in North Carolina is mandated to report suspected child abuse or neglect, and all reporter information is confidential.