Dixon Family Services has a banner in front of the building with blue pinwheels spinning in the spring wind during the month of April as one way to remind people that April is Child Abuse Awareness Month and that there are things we can all do to reduce and prevent child abuse and neglect.
This past year with the Coronavirus pandemic “Shelter in Place”, school closures, and other restrictions, unfortunately, we fear that there may be additional circumstances in homes that can trigger abusive behaviors.
Losses of jobs, financial stress, children and parents having to stay at home during times they would normally be in school or at work, being “on edge”/anxious about what comes next, increased consumption of alcoholic beverages and other substances, are just a few of the conditions we believe can lead to abusive environments.
As a community we have a responsibility to nurture and protect our children and help ensure they become healthy and productive adults. Child abuse, in its many forms, happens every day and has major impacts on the futures of those victimized.
Studies show that there is a direct link between child abuse and a greater risk later in life of depression, alcoholism, drug abuse, smoking, eating disorders, obesity, sexual promiscuity, certain chronic diseases and suicide.
Dixon Family Services (DFS) is a community-based Family Resource Center. Our non-profit organization does all it can to help ensure the safety and well-being of Dixon’s children all year long. With a special focus on low-income families with children, a priority goal is to reduce the incidences of child abuse or neglect by decreasing some of the basic needs worries and stressors parents increasingly face on a daily basis, especially when living on insufficient incomes.
Though our main focus is on households living at or below poverty, we want to be clear that child abuse knows no boundaries and is found in families of all socio-economic backgrounds and cuts across lines of ethnicity, culture, and education.
There are a number of factors that can create increased risk of child abuse including lack of parenting skills, teen pregnancy, substance abuse, mental illness, poverty and substandard housing conditions, domestic violence, and a parent history of child abuse. These same risk factors can be barriers to abusers’ acknowledgement of the problem and ability to seek programs/services intended to stop the abuse such as parenting classes, counseling or other approaches.
Do not hesitate to report what you think might be abusive behavior to local police or county child protective services. Let professionals determine if your concerns are worth investigation.
For more information about child abuse, ways to help prevent it, and how to report it, we suggest you visit the Children’s Network website www.childnet.org, or Partners in Prevention website www.partnersinprevention.org , or call Solano Child Welfare Services 1 (800) 544-8696.