Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect: Step Up, Speak Up and Reach Out

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --

Children are our nation’s most valuable asset.  They represent the bright future of our country.  As parents and adults, we must ensure they are protected against child abuse and neglect.  In April of each year, installations within the Department of Defense and communities across the United States take time to emphasize this message.

In 2015, the National Children’s Alliance reported there were an estimated 1,670 children who died from abuse and neglect, and nearly 700,000 children were abused.  Child neglect is the most common form of maltreatment.  Of the children who experienced maltreatment or abuse, 75 percent suffered neglect, 17 percent suffered physical abuse and eight percent suffered sexual abuse.  A common form of child emotional abuse is witnessing partner abuse of parents.  This has lifelong effects from childhood through adulthood.

STEP UP

Parents must keep kids safe and supervised.  Babyproofing is essential for infants and toddlers.  Parents can receive information at www.babycenter.com/303_safety-childproofing-at-home.com.  Parents must also keep a close eye on who their child is communicating with at home, in the neighborhood and on social media.  Parents can determine if a registered sex offender lives near the family through www.kidslivesafe.com.  There are numerous websites available to assist in monitoring online safety to include www.safesocial.com.

Parents should be knowledgeable of the Georgia Lack of Supervision Standards.  Children eight years old or younger should not be left alone, even for short periods of time.   Children between the ages of nine and 12, based on level of maturity, can be left home alone for brief periods of time.  It is strongly discouraged for parents to allow children 13 years old or younger to babysit infants, small children, or children that require special attention due to medical conditions.   Children ages 15 or older can be left alone overnight, depending on the child’s level of maturity.

SPEAK UP

Every child deserves to be safe.  Section 19-7-5 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to the reporting of child abuse, designates several categories of individuals as mandated reporters, who “having reasonable cause to believe that a child has been abused shall report or cause reports of that abuse to be made.” All child service organizations personnel, employed by or volunteering, are mandated reporters.

 

The Moody AFB Family Advocacy Program has memorandum of understandings with the local Department of Family and Children Services to ensure child abuse reports are provided and services are received.  To report a suspicion of child abuse and/or partner abuse, please call the Family Advocacy Program at 229-257-4805.

 

REACH OUT

Parenting can be stressful.  It’s okay to ask for help.  The Moody AFB Family Advocacy Program provides classes such as: “Dads:  The Basics,” “1-2-3 Magic,” “Love and Logic and Active Parenting of Teens.”  The New Parent Support Program provides support services, home visitation and breast feeding consultation to families with children from birth to three years of age, including the prenatal period.  Information on prevention programs can be received by contacting the Family Advocacy Program which is located in the 23d Medical Group.

Remember to step up, speak up and reach out to ensure children will always be our nation’s most valuable asset. 

Editor’s note: Outside links do not imply federal endorsement.