Because Childhood Lasts a Lifetime.

Working Together to Prevent Child Abuse as Children Return to School 


To say that the COVID-19 pandemic has upended daily life is an understatement. For many of us, the pandemic has required that we reconfigure our whole lives—not only in terms of how we live and work but also in how we think of larger social issues. 

More specifically, the pandemic has presented an opportunity to re-evaluate and adjust our approach to issues like child abuse. And while coordinated community action may seem harder now because of the social distancing measures still in place across the country, we all can play a part in eradicating the underlying causes of child abuse. By taking action now, we can empower children to realize their full potential.

Research has shown that children who grow up with safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments are less likely to suffer from toxic stress. Though children possess incredible resilience even in the face of such stress, our collective responsibility is to prevent it and address the issues that contribute to it. Creating a society that facilitates stable home environments needs to be our primary focus in addressing child abuse and neglect.

Stepping Up as a Community

We can work together to support the systems and professionals who represent the front lines in addressing child abuse on a broad scale. Among other things, child welfare professionals are calling for more funding for child welfare services, training for educators on how to recognize and report child abuse, and outreach and support services for at-risk families.

You can help by voting for local and statewide candidates who support legislation to accomplish those goals. For example, legislation that fights systemic inequities (such as poverty and discriminatory housing) and funds resources for single parents and those struggling with disordered mental health and substance abuse (such as subsidized child care and mental health care). 

On an immediate and individual level, each of us has the power to prevent child abuse today by connecting with parents who may be struggling. Supporting parents who feel isolated can be as simple as checking in to see how they’re doing or offering to provide child care for a little while (thereby giving parents a much-needed break). If a parent struggles to provide adequately for their children, you can also connect them with resources that can help

Looking Forward to the Future: The Impact of Holistic Child Abuse Prevention Measures

Child abuse and neglect don’t just affect the individuals who experience it. The effects are felt across entire communities, states, and even countries. Therefore, taking steps to prevent circumstances that lead to child abuse will have a rippling positive impact far beyond the scope of individual households. 

Below are a few examples of the lasting benefits of a comprehensive approach to child abuse prevention:

  • Greater resource availability Taking a prevention-focused approach to child abuse reduces the need for intervention-based, reactionary measures. This, in turn, will free up the infrastructure, resources, and personnel that typically respond to reports of child abuse. Reducing the strain on these services will put them in a better position to reallocate resources and address other pressing social issues. 
  • Social justice reform Child abuse is symptomatic of many other entrenched forms of social inequality: poverty, discriminatory housing policies, racism, disordered mental health, and substance abuse. By going straight to the source of the problem instead of treating the result, we will further efforts to reduce inequality on a wider scale.
  • Healthier, more successful citizens Child abuse has been linked in some instances to disrupted neurodevelopment, long-term health consequences, and significantly lower academic achievement. By putting students in a position to thrive now, we are enabling them to become the future leaders of America.
  • Better family relationships. Child abuse often occurs because parents are experiencing an excess of stress, frequently due to things like financial hardship, depression, or isolation—all of which have been at an all-time high during the pandemic. When families are subjected to this sort of overload, parents cannot devote energy and time to creating a safe, stable home environment. By alleviating some of this pressure on families, parents will cultivate loving, nurturing relationships with their children. 

Prevent Child Abuse America is actively working to end child abuse and neglect and ensure that all children have a great childhood. We strive to realize a world where all children are happy, healthy, and prepared to succeed in supportive families and communities. To support our mission of raising public awareness and implementing child abuse prevention strategies, consider browsing our resources or making a donation.

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