MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
Child Abuse is a serious problem that negatively affects the well-being of children and families. During the month of April, Cherry Point's Marine and Family Programs is raising awareness of child abuse to help equip parents and caregivers with resources to provide safe, stable and nurturing environments for children.
“National Child Abuse Prevention month is a campaign that surfaced as a result of child abuse and child neglect,” said Victor O. Foster, the prevention and education specialist with Marine and Family Programs. “This is something that impacts everyone; it affects all races, ethnic groups, economic groups and ranks.”
Child abuse and neglect is any act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation of a child or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm, according to The Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act.
This month, Marine and Family Programs adopted a new program called the Positive Parenting Program. Family Advocacy Programs sponsors the Positive Parenting Program, which presents parents and caregivers with a variety of tip sheets, one-on-one sessions and seminars that arm parents with the necessary tools to decrease the number of child abuse cases.
“We’re very excited about the new program,” said Foster. “The Positive Parenting Program is geared to help parents with children from infancy to teenagers.”
Aside from Positive Parenting Program, the Marine Corps mandates that service members attend annual training that identifies signs of child abuse and prevention and response measures. All Marines are required to report all instances of child abuse or suspected child abuse.
“We must all reinforce that the safety and well-being of our children is a shared community responsibility,” said Jessica L. Wright, the acting Under Secretary of Defense for personnel and readiness. “It may only take a minute to recognize a child in need, reach out to a parent under stress, or report suspected abuse.”
During April, the Cherry Point's Family Advocacy Program will host seminars, exhibits, and training to promote awareness of child abuse related issues. The program also plans to partner with the Craven County Department of Social Services Havelock Office and the Community Coalition for Craven County children to host a National Child Abuse Prevention Month kickoff event April 4 at the Walter B. Jones Park in Havelock.
For more information on events supporting National Child Abuse Prevention Month, contact the Family Advocacy Program at (252) 466-3264. For more information about child abuse awareness and prevention and the many resources available, contact the Family Advocacy Program, the Department of Defense's child safety hotline at (887) 790-1197 or the Marine Corps' DSTRESS line at (887) 476-7734.