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April is Child Abuse Prevention Month in Minnesota

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month in Minnesota

Help Strengthen Families and Prevent Child Abuse

Child Abuse Prevention Month Proclamation

On Friday, April 1, Governor Tim Walz declared April as Child Abuse Prevention Month in Minnesota. Each year, thousands of children in the state experience abuse and maltreatment, which thrives in secrecy and isolation. In fact, during the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated this isolation. Research is finding an increase in violence against women and children since 2020.

This month and throughout the year, the Minnesota Children’s Alliance (Alliance) calls attention to the prevalence of abuse and encourages and supports all individuals and organizations to help make our state a better place for children and families.

“Above all, we’re here to help all Minnesotans help kids lead happy and healthy lives,” said Marcia Milliken, executive director of the Alliance. “That’s why we work with professionals from across the spectrum, including child protection, law enforcement, advocacy, forensic interview, medical, and mental health to ensure that the needs of children are put first in healing from trauma.”

Children’s Advocacy Centers Put Kids First

The Alliance is a chapter organization with 13 Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) members throughout the state that deliver critical prevention and early intervention services in cases of abuse and maltreatment. Each year Minnesota’s 13 centers support over 3,000 kids in reported child maltreatment cases. In recognition of these children and thousands more, the lights on the 1-35W Anthony Falls Bridge will shine blue on April 11.

“CACs bring together all the professionals that work on child maltreatment cases in a local community. When we coordinate our efforts, we center the needs of the child and promote healing and justice,” said Cheyenne Orcutt, manager at the Central Minnesota Child Advocacy Center.

Prevention is a Community Effort

By ensuring that communities, families, and parents possess the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to care for their children, we can help promote their social and emotional well-being and prevent child maltreatment.

Protective factors are the strengths and resources families draw on during difficult times to shield them from life’s stresses. Knowledge of parenting and child development, parental resilience, social connections, and concrete supports are major protective factors. Research shows that when parents possess protective factors, the risk for neglect and abuse diminishes. Additionally, protective factors promote optimal outcomes for children, youth, and families.

Resources for Prevention and Reporting

For more information about child abuse prevention programs and activities during the month of April, and throughout the year, contact Marcia Milliken, executive director of the Alliance.