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For Release: March 27, 2012 - Pamela Williams, Office of Communications – (405) 271-5601

Child Abuse Prevention Month (April) Seeks Community Involvement
“It’s Your Turn to Make a Difference for a Child” 

Small, positive actions can make a difference in the life of a child. The focus this year for April, Child Abuse Prevention (CAP) Month, is to highlight actions each of us can take to help raise safe, healthy, resilient children.  Child advocates and the general public are invited to view booth displays and join in the all-day activities on Child Abuse Prevention Day at the State Capitol, Tuesday, April 3. This year’s activity will feature a “Save a Bottom, Diaper Drive” to benefit the Infant Crisis Center in Oklahoma City. The public is invited to drop off diaper donations on April 3 between the hours of 8 a.m. and noon at the fourth floor rotunda of the State Capitol building.

The theme “It’s Your Turn to Make a Difference for a Child,” brings hope that all children can get a good start in life if the adults around them take small actions that add up to a pattern of supportive community and family environments in which children can grow and develop into productive citizens. Although the State Capitol diaper drive will benefit the Infant Crisis Center, CAP advocates are encouraging local communities to organize their own diaper drives to assist parents of infants and toddlers that need local support.

According to the latest statistics available from the Oklahoma State Department of Human Services, in state fiscal year 2010 there were more than 7,200 confirmations of child abuse and/or neglect in Oklahoma. There were 52 confirmed child abuse/neglect deaths in Oklahoma in state fiscal year 2009.

“Having local diaper drives is one small way anyone can make a difference in the life of a child,” said Annette Jacobi, chief of the Family Support and Prevention Service at the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH).  “Even one victim of child abuse and neglect is still one victim too many. We are focusing our efforts to get more information into the hands of new parents about good parenting techniques and practical ways that everyone can help relieve the stress involved in raising children.”

Sherie Trice, OSDH community-based child abuse prevention grant coordinator said, “A few words of praise and encouragement to a child or the caregiver, listening carefully to what a child has to say, showing a child you care, and saying ‘I love you’ are simple actions that are proven ways to have a positive impact on a child.” 

The OSDH offers the following parenting tips:

  • Help your children feel loved and secure, even when they do something wrong.
  • Encourage your children by praising their achievements, talents, and efforts.  Recognize the skills they are learning.
  • Spend time with your children doing things that you both enjoy. Listen to them.
  • Learn how to use nonphysical options for discipline that are appropriate for your child’s age and development, and/or redirect your child’s attention by offering positive choices, and use “time out” as an age appropriate way to discipline.
  • Seek help if you need it. Sometimes special circumstances like unemployment, or a child with special needs, can add stress to the family. If you need additional support, try to talk to a friend, health care provider, faith leader or counselor or join a support group for parents.

Finally, the OSDH encourages everyone to get involved with local activities related to Child Abuse Prevention Month, including the following:

  • Attend Child Abuse Prevention Day at the State Capitol on Tuesday, April 3.
  • Donate to the “Save a Bottom Diaper Drive” at the State Capitol on April 3.
  • Buy a “Child Abuse Prevention” specialty license plate. Applications for the specialty license tag called “Start Right” are available at your local tag agency. Money will go into the child abuse prevention fund to support prevention programs across the state.
  • Participate in “Build a Blue Ribbon Tree for Kids”.  Find a highly visible spot to place your blue ribbon tree and add a blue ribbon for the number of children abused and neglected in your county; or the number of new babies born in your community; or to represent something that shows your support for children. 
  • Call your local library to see what materials are available for parents and childcare professionals to prevent child abuse and neglect and to learn good parenting skills.
  • Volunteer to serve on the statewide Child Abuse Prevention CAP ACTION Committee and plan to help with future activities.
  • Get involved in Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer efforts to assist children through the legal system by contacting Jennifer Emfinger at 1-800-742-2272.
  • Get involved with Prevent Child Abuse Oklahoma by calling Billie Brown at 1-800- CHILDREN (800-244-5373).

For general information about Child Abuse Prevention Month activities, to request materials for your community, and to discover ways to get involved, call the county health department in your area or contact Sherie Trice, OSDH, (405) 271-7611.  

 

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