April, also Child Abuse Prevention Month, reminds us to keep our children safe and resilient by being a caring presence in a child’s life—whether a teacher, parent, family member or coach, for example. This year, the Coast Guard aligned with the Department of Defense (DoD) in observing child abuse prevention with the campaign theme, “All in to End Child Abuse,” as referenced in the Child Abuse Prevention Month ALCOAST 125/21.
“Research has found that children that are supported by an involved and caring adult in their life are more likely to develop healthy social behaviors, coping skills and the resiliency needed to navigate life’s challenges,” said the Family Advocacy Program Coordinator Marshe’ Milbourne-Jackson, from the Health, Safety and Work-Life Service Center.
More specifically, every caring adult can contribute to supporting children, especially those impacted by trauma, abuse and neglect by:
a. Being a stable force in the life of a military child;
b. Engaging in active listening, reinforcing healthy parenting, and encouraging military parents to practice self-care and seek help when they are overwhelmed;
c. Reporting reasonable suspicion of child abuse and neglect;
d. Providing resources to help children and families heal from abuse; and,
e. Abolishing abuse in our military community.
Lastly, every Coast Guard employee or member must proactively safeguard our children as stated in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, section 575, which states that it is required by law for military chains of command, military members, and persons engaged in a profession or an activity involving military members or their dependents to report reasonable suspicion of child abuse. Bottom line, military members are mandated reporters when it comes to suspected child abuse.
If you have concerns about a child’s safety then you are highly encouraged to call both your local Family Advocacy Program at 202-475-5100, and the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 800-422-4453. For additional information and resources, contact your local Work-Life Family Advocacy Specialist or contact CGSUPRT at 855-CG-SUPRT, or visit their website for information at www.CGSUPRT.com. Refer to the Child Abuse Prevention Month ALCOAST 125/21 for additional resources.