Mental Health Problems
Child abuse and neglect are preventable. Yet nearly ten million children in the US are confirmed victims of child abuse every year. Last year, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services confirmed 28,732 cases of child abuse and neglect .
Children under 4 are at greatest risk for severe injury and death from abuse. Abuse and neglect can occur in families where there is a great deal of stress. The stress can result from a family history of violence, drug or alcohol abuse, poverty and chronic health problems.
Ongoing violence in the community may create environment where child abuse is accepted.
Tragically, child abuse has life-time consequences, and can result in:
- Poor physical health: chronic fatigue, obesity, decreased immunity
- Poor emotional health: depression, anxiety disorder, suicide attempts, post-traumatic stress
- Problems with relationships
- Lower academic achievement
- Increased risk of teen pregnancy, alcohol and drug abuse
- Behavior problems that can lead to juvenile delinquency
The solution? Emerging research confirms that parenting education decreases the likelihood that child abuse will occur.
Worried About Child Abuse?
Signs You Need Help
Child abuse occurs when a parent or caregiver takes action that causes injury to the child. This can be an actual physical attack or the deliberate withholding of food.
Child abuse may occur as a result of not understanding normal child development. Abuse can be physical, emotional, intellectual and sexual. Child neglect is an act of omission that causes injury to a child.
Here are some common signs of child abuse or neglect:
- Unexplained bruises
- Welts, burns or fractures
- Lacerations or cuts
- Consistent hunger
- Inappropriate dress
If you suspect a child is being abused, you are urged to call the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services child abuse hotline at 1-800-252-2872.
You can also contact the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child ( 1-800-422-4453) to report abuse or get help.
If you think you might abuse your own child, you can also contact C4’s Parenting Education Program at 773.765.0829 or e-mail email@example.com.
We know that it is best to STOP child abuse before it starts. Strategies that support parents and teach positive parenting skills are also very important. Positive parenting skills include good communication, appropriate discipline, and responding to children’s physical and emotional needs.
Programs to prevent child abuse also improve parent-child relationships and provide parents with social support.
C4’s Parenting Program provides parents with the opportunity to learn effective parenting skills that strengthen family relationships and reduce child abuse.
Parents learn alternative discipline techniques so they do not have to resort to verbal abuse or physical punishment. Information on child development helps parents to better understand what to expect from a child at each stage of development. This helps parents to have more patience when interacting with their children.
C4 parenting services also help parents understand what is behind misbehavior. This allows parents to prevent so me disciplinary problems from occurring, or if they do occur, how best to handle them.
Parenting classes are offered in both English and Spanish. The program is free, but parents are asked to pay $25 for a workbook and materials.
For more information on C4’s Parenting Education Program, call 773.765.0829 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.