April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) and community partners invite Oklahoma families to join them in advocating for the prevention of child abuse.
Thousands of Oklahoma children suffer abuse and neglect each year. According to the Oklahoma State Department of Human Services, there were 15,937 substantiated child abuse and neglect victims in Oklahoma (SFY 2020), an increase from the previous year. Oklahoma County alone had 2,802 confirmed cases.
“These statistics remind us that every possible effort, no matter how simple, should be made to prevent child abuse in Oklahoma,” said Sherie Trice, OSDH community child abuse prevention grant coordinator. “We encourage every citizen to ‘do one thing’ to protect children and strengthen families. Even small gestures like offering to help a struggling parent by providing an extra set of hands at the supermarket can make a difference in reducing stress and make life a little easier for families and children.”
Oklahomans can participate in National Child Abuse Prevention Month in a variety of ways, including:
- Take the CAP Super Challenge: Complete five tasks to become a super advocate against child abuse
- Wear Blue Selfie Day: Thursday, April 1 is designated as the day to wear blue to support child abuse prevention efforts in communities. Share your best selfie on social media using #OKWearsBlue and ask family and friends to join.
- Build a Blue Ribbon Tree for Kids: Decorate a tree or trees in your community with blue ribbons to bring awareness to child abuse prevention.
- Happiest Day Coloring Challenge: Children are encouraged to draw and/or color their “happiest day.” Children may work individually, in a group, with family or as a class. Parents and teachers are encouraged to share these pictures on social media using #PictureABrighterFuture
- Spread the word about parentPRO, a free parenting support program connecting families to trained professionals who teach parenting and child development skills, as well as ways to reduce stress and nurture children. Learn more at parentpro.org.
- Plant a “Pinwheels for Prevention Garden”: Support Prevent Child Abuse Oklahoma with a pinwheel garden by calling Parent Promise at 405-232-2500.
For additional information about child abuse prevention activities in April or how to get involved in your community throughout the year, contact a local county health department or OSDH Family Support and Prevention Services at 405-271-4477.