April is Child Abuse Prevention Month
During Child Abuse Prevention Month Families Forward Virginia, the state chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America, highlights prevention programs which strengthen families so all children experience safe, nurturing childhoods.
Visit www.familiesforwardva.org, a newly re-designed website, for information on preventing child abuse in Virginia.
“All parents need resources and support. Parents and caregivers can call our 1-800-CHILDREN helpline (call 800.244.5373 or text 804.349.5595) for free, personalized information about any parenting-related topic or issue,” said Lisa Specter-Dunaway, CEO of Families Forward Virginia.
Families Forward was established in 2017 with the merger of Prevent Child Abuse Virginia, CHIP of Virginia and Early Impact Virginia. Families Forward supports the work of 50 local affiliates to prevent child abuse.
More than 50,000 children in Virginia were reported to Child Protective Services for suspected child abuse or neglect in 2017, according to the Virginia Department of Social Services. To report suspected child abuse in Virginia, call 1-800-552-7096.
As part of the nationwide Pinwheels for Prevention® campaign, Families Forward’s local affiliates, communities and businesses across Virginia are sponsoring pinwheel displays. Pinwheels are the symbol of child abuse prevention.
“The root of child abuse and neglect is often related to lack of role models, limited education and not having reliable support systems. All parents want their children to be successful in school, life and work. Yet, parenting is not instinctive. Parents learn by the way they were parented,” said Johanna Schuchert, Director of Child Abuse Prevention at Families Forward. “Child abuse prevention programs succeed because of partnerships created among schools, faith communities, social service agencies, businesses, civic organizations and law enforcement.”
This mission of Families Forward, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is to disrupt the cycles of child abuse, neglect and poverty. Working with Virginia communities, parents and their children, Families Forward provides Home Visiting Programs, Family Support and Education, Professional Development, Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Programs, Advocacy and Public Education