Did you know April is Child Abuse Prevention Month? The campaign theme this year is Stand Up for MilKids, which brings awareness to the importance of having a caring adult in the life of a child and increasing their resilience. During this time of quarantines and global despair, no one is immune to becoming overwhelmed with their children. How do you keep a routine? When do you get a break? Why won’t my children listen to me?
With everyone safe at home (some might say stuck), stress levels may increase. Statistically, when children are not going to school, the rate of child abuse increases. As a community, we have to work together to prevent abuse and protect our children.
These are tough times and almost all parents are struggling right now. Never could we have imagined the amount of restrictions being placed upon us as they are now with the COVID-19 pandemic: no outside events or social gatherings, and limited contact with the outside world with the exception of technology. Over the years, researchers and parenting experts have cautioned against the harmful effects of excessive technology use and exposure; but this “technology” is what we have come to rely on just to get through the day. None of this is normal, all of it is new, and it is definitely nobody’s fault. Give yourselves a break so you can give your kids a break.
When you find yourself overwhelmed, many resources are available. The Army Community Service Family Advocacy Program focuses on preventive services such as parenting groups and educational classes. Many Army garrisons and ACS New Parent Support programs are providing weekly parenting tips on their Facebook pages, to include fun activities to do with children and an opportunity to connect directly with ACS staff.
In addition to your local ACS, a great many online resources are available. The military community also has online supportive parenting resources through Military One Source (www.militaryonesource.mil).
Please remember that we are all in this together and it is important that we stay connected. For more information on prevention services, ACS FAP can be reached at 0611-143-548-9201 or DSN (314) 548-9201. For clinical resources, MEDOM FAP can be reached at 6371-9464-1312 or DSN (314) 590-1312.
To report child abuse concerns, the military police can be reached at 0611-143-548-7777 or DSN (314)548-7777.
Please remember, if you witness or suspect a child is being abused always call the military police, our reporting point of contact here in Wiesbaden. You may be the only resource to this child in preventing abuse. The MP desk will determine if an immediate response is warranted and will relay the information back to FAP Clinical for follow-up.
Every caring adult in this community has a role in supporting the resilience of military children. Take pride in doing your part to keep our military children safe. Pledge to stand up for MilKids today.