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COMMUNITY CORNER - Protecting our kids from abuse always top priority

By Col. Andrew Cole | GARRISON COMMANDER | April 04, 2014

Did you know that about one in every 100 children is abused? Did you know an average of nearly five children die every day as a result of child abuse or neglect? These figures from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System are staggering, and the last thing we want for our military children is for them to become just another statistic.

In my column last week, I shared that in April, we celebrate Month of the Military Child. April also is Child Abuse Prevention Month. Because of children’s importance to the Army mission, we not only encourage and support our military children, we also seek every opportunity to protect them. That is why we join with the MOMC efforts to promote an awareness of the signs and negative effects of child abuse.

To do so, we must understand abuse and neglect. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Child Welfare Information Gateway, the following may be signs of child abuse or neglect:

THE CHILD

Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance

Has not received help for physical or medical problems brought to the parents’ attention

Has learning problems – or difficulty concentrating – that cannot be attributed to specific physical or psychological causes

Is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen

Lacks adult supervision

Is overly compliant, passive or withdrawn

Comes to school or other activities early, stays late and does not want to go home

THE PARENT

Shows little concern for the child

Denies the existence of – or blames the child for – the child’s problems in school or at home

Asks teachers or other caregivers to use harsh physical discipline if the child misbehaves

Sees the child as entirely bad, worthless or burdensome

Demands a level of physical or academic performance the child cannot achieve

Looks primarily to the child for care, attention and satisfaction of emotional needs

THE PARENT AND CHILD

Rarely touch or look at each other

Consider their relationship entirely negative

State they do not like each other

So what can we do to prevent this behavior?

As a parent, recognize your limitations and know it’s OK to seek help. Army parents know it is a sign of strength to ask for professional help to keep their children safe from harm.

For example, explore the resources offered through Army Community Service. The Family Advocacy Program and its associated programs, like the New Parent Support Program, Exceptional Family Member Program and Military Family Life Consultants are all available to help families deal with the challenges of military life and parenting.

FAP also provides commander and troop education, parent education programs that include free child care, child safety classes and stress management classes.

To arrange for a class, call FAP at 785-239-9435 or visit the ACS page at www.riley.army.mil under Family Services or www.rileymwr.com.

Remember, together, we can prevent child abuse.

If you would like to comment on this article or suggest a topic for Community Corner, email usarmy.riley.imcom.mbx.postnewspaper@mail.mil or visit my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/fortrileygc.
Tag children   Tag Family   Tag MOMC