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Get Involved In Child Abuse Prevention Month

Lindsey Erdman
March 29, 2024

In April, communities across the nation join in recognizing Child Abuse Prevention Month. This time is dedicated to raising awareness for child abuse and neglect. Abuse can be categorized by emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. Neglect can be defined as the failure to provide basic needs like food, shelter, and clothing for a child.  

Adverse childhood experiences, or traumatic childhood events, can be linked to negative outcomes in adulthood, including mental health issues, substance abuse, and risky behaviors. According to the 2022 Child Maltreatment Report, Kentucky's child abuse rate is 60% higher than the national average.

We can all do our part in preventing child abuse in our communities by being able to detect signs of abuse and neglect. At the Kentucky United Methodist Homes, we are dedicated to raising awareness about Child Abuse Prevention and actively working toward providing resources for children who have been affected.  

Signs of Abuse in Children

Child abuse and neglect can happen at any socioeconomic level and can look different from case to case. If you are concerned about the welfare of a child, consider some of the following signs:

• Physical Abuse: Marks on the child's body, unconvincing explanations from the child or caregiver, or no explanation at all.

• Emotional Abuse: Loss of developmental skills, low self-esteem, social withdrawal, and declining academic or extracurricular performance.

• Sexual Abuse: Inappropriate sexual language or behaviors, pain or discomfort, and disclosures by the child.  

• Neglect: Poor hygiene, inadequate growth, lack of clothing or essentials, hoarding or stealing food, and lack of medical attention.

Signs of Abuse in Caregivers

Taking note of a child’s behavior is an effective tool, but caregivers with abusive tendencies often exhibit warning signs too:

• Lack of concern for their children's welfare

• Insensitive physical discipline

• Demanding physical or academic skills beyond the child's age

• Using negative terms to refer to their children

• Blaming the child for their problems

How KyUMH helps caregivers: Our Love & Logic parenting group takes place at our Owensboro campus. Here, parents are offered a supportive space to connect and gain valuable parenting skills. If you would like more information and/or are interested in future sessions, you can contact mkcs@kyumh.org

How to Make a Report of Abuse or Neglect

Kentucky requires anyone who has reasonable suspicions to report suspected abuse or neglect.  

To report suspected child abuse or neglect in Kentucky, you can contact the Kentucky Child Abuse Hotline, which operates 24/7. Reports can be made anonymously to protect the identity of the reporter. The hotline number is 1-877-KYSAFE1 (1-877-597-2331).

After making a report, you may be contacted by authorities for additional information or to provide further assistance. It's important to respect the privacy and confidentiality of the child and family involved. Avoid discussing the case with others unless necessary.

Remember, reporting suspected child abuse or neglect is an important step in looking after a child’s safety and well-being. Use your voice and be an advocate for youth in your community.

Education and Awareness

Through our Community-Based Services programs, we offer counseling and case-management for children of all ages. Our Residential programs help heal youth from trauma and guide them into adulthood and parenthood.

When interacting with children, pay attention to concerning behaviors and seek support when necessary. Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky offers a helpline for parents and community members. Call 1-800-CHILDREN for caregiver support, community resources, and child abuse prevention information.  

At KyUMH, we take part in speaking with our legislative leaders about the need for increased resources in child welfare programs. We saw a passion for advocacy in the community as well, so we created the KyUMH Children’s Advocacy Network to help connect volunteers with their representatives. Learn more at:  https://www.kyumh.org/volunteer/childrens-advocacy-network  

How You Can Get Involved in Child Abuse Prevention Month

  • Raise Awareness by displaying blue pinwheels outside your home - the symbol for Child Abuse & Neglect Prevention Month.
  • Show empathy, understanding, and support to those who have experienced abuse. Teach children about healthy relationships, boundaries, and self-confidence to empower them to recognize unsafe situations.  
  • Beyond being a parent or caregiver, you can be a role model for youth outside your household. Be a mentor to youth at your church or other community organizations.

Together, let’s work towards a future where every child in Kentucky can thrive free from harm.

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