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Stand up, speak for those who can't - April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

April 3, 2013

By Brenda B. Gray, Executive Vice Presidents, Development & Communications

Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH) is dedicated to providing a safe place where children can experience hope and healing.

Many of the children in BCH’s care have lived in situations where there was not always food, clean clothes, kind words, or loving embraces. Often, the case files chronicling the difficult journey of the boys and girls are filled with disappointment after disappointment, failed attempts to place them in a caring environment, and even abuse and neglect. These factors affect their growth.

A child who is ignored stops talking. A child robbed of affection won’t give hugs or allow themselves to be hugged. A child who never plays with toys will not learn as quickly. A child who experiences betrayal finds it difficult to trust.

All children deserve to feel safe and secure. They deserve the opportunity to become all that God intends.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month.
This nationwide campaign began in Chesapeake, Virginia by a grandmother whose grandson was murdered by his mother’s boyfriend. Bonnie Finney explains why she decided to tie a blue ribbon on her van, “Why blue? I intend to never forget the bruised body of my grandchild. Blue serves as a constant reminder to me to fight for the protection of our children.” Child Abuse Prevention Month is a time when we are reminded to stand and speak up for those who are alone or cannot speak for themselves.

What can you do to help?
1. Teach preventive measures to children.
+ Teach them they have a right to feel safe all the time. Role-play with them ways of saying no to inappropriate or threatening behavior.
+ Teach them that someone must always know where they are, who they are with, and when they will be home.
+ Tell them nothing is so awful they can’t talk with someone about it. Help them identify safe people with whom they can share.
+ Teach them that secrets should be fun. Help them to know the difference between secrets and threats.

2. Offer to assist struggling parents that you know.
+ Take a child of a single parent out for pizza or burgers or to a movie so that the parent can have a few hours to herself
+ Take dinner over to a stressed parent one night. Use paper containers, and include paper plates and utensils, so that he will not have to clean up.
+ Become a prayer partner with a young mother or father with a first child.
+ Have a parents’ night out at church several times a year and provide child care.
+ Make sure parents are aware of Baptist Children’s Homes and that we stand ready to help them.

3. Help children you don’t know
+ Help us help them. Last year, BCH ministered to more than 6,900 children, families and individuals who were in need of help.
+ Participate in our annual FOOD ROUNDUP taking place throughout April.
+ Participate in our FRIENDS OF CHILDREN WORKDAY events during the month of May.
+ Become a BED SPONSOR.
+ Lead your church and family in making a gift to BCH, GIVE NOW.
+ Include BCH in your Will, LEARN MORE HERE.
+ Pray for our children and staff every day.

It is my prayer that the light of Christ shining through us will flood the darkness of the lives of the children and families entrusted to us and change them forever. Will you make this your prayer?

When you support BCH, you enable us to provide our residents with warm beds to sleep in, food to eat, and loving, caring people to share the love of Christ with them. When you give, you unite with every BCH staff member who stands at the door of each facility with outstretched arms proclaiming God’s love.

Please stand with us and speak for those who cannot stand and speak for themselves. For more information on how you can stand for children and families call me at 1-800-336-476-3669 ext. 1230.

CHILD ABUSE STATISTICS
1 in 5 children in North Carolina go hungry. For children younger than five, that statistic increases to one in four.

In 2011, 24 children died at the hand of a parent or caregiver in North Carolina.

More than 132,000 reports of abuse and neglect were reported in 2011 in North Carolina. 80% of those were children under the age of 12.

In the last 5 years, almost 650,000 cases of child abuse and neglect have been report in North Carolina. A child is abused or neglected every 24 minutes.

Every 4 days, a child or teen is killed by gunfire.

And tragically, 41 children and teens committed suicide using a firearm in 2011.