Child Abuse Prevention
Written by: Donna Krauser, Chief of Out of Home Care at the Children’s Home Network
The Children’s Home Network invites you to join us in recognition of April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. Unfortunately, child abuse is incredibly prevalent in our community and the impact of the current opioid crisis on families has been devastating. In Hillsborough County, drug abuse and domestic violence are the leading reasons why children are removed from their families and placed into foster care. Sadly, this rate of removal is the highest in Hillsborough County, exceeding all other counties across Florida, including the Miami and Orlando areas.
The Children’s Home Network programs, Adolescents in Motherhood (AIM) and Kids Village, provide a safe and nurturing home for children that have been victims of child abuse. CHN cares for children that have been abused, neglected and abandoned. More than 70% of the children we care for have been sexually abused or been victim to human trafficking.
Within our 66 bed residential program, CHN’s Kids Village serves children and sibling groups, primarily ages 6 to 17, and CHN’s Adolescents in Motherhood (AIM) program serves parenting or pregnant teen girls. Our comprehensive evidence based practices, mental health therapy, mentoring, recreational, behavioral, educational and parenting services restore childhoods.
In addition, throughout our community, the Children’s Home Network supports 200+ foster homes through the Fostering Families program serving Hillsborough and Osceola counties. CHN foster families deliver high quality and nurturing care to children ages 0 through 17. Foster families also support young adults who are 18+ who remain in extended foster care. Helping children thrive and heal has been our mission for over 127 years.
While child abuse continues to threaten the well-being of children within our community, the month of April reminds each of us to take action:
1. Get to know your neighbors – Talk to the families you meet in your community and share community resources without judgement. Your support could aid in the prevention of abuse.
2. If you see suspected child abuse, report it to 1-800-96-ABUSE.
3. Become a foster parent – To learn more visit our website CHN or give us a call at 813-864-1403.
4. Become a Kids Village or Adolescents in Motherhood (AIM) caregiver – apply online.
5. Seek volunteer opportunities in your community such as mentoring or tutoring with local children.
6. Give to CHN to ensure further care for children who have been abused, neglected or abandoned– give today.
Together, we can strengthen our communities by empowering and teaching families to parent safely and appropriately, raising the next generation of leaders, teachers, doctors, moms and dads.