April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) is joining other organizations to show its support for children and raise awareness about this issue. Throughout the month, we will share about our ministry’s work to protect children and create safe families through our programs and services. Brooke Davilla, program administrator for MCH Family Outreach, explains the role of protective factors in preventing child abuse.
Dr. Karyn Purvis, renowned child expert, would say that every child has three birthrights:
- There is a safe place.
- There are safe adults.
- Someone thinks you are precious.
Tragically, throughout our nation more than 600,000 children are confirmed to be victims of some form of abuse (neglect, physical, sexual, emotional). At Methodist Children’s Home and MCH Family Outreach we believe the best way to stop child abuse is to prevent it from ever happening. While this sounds like common sense, it really is the most effective strategy to eradicate child abuse.
In all of our programs, from prevention programs like case management and parent education to foster care and residential programs, we encourage protective factors. Protective factors are qualities or environmental situations, when present in individuals, families and communities, promote wellbeing and healing. Our hope is to prevent abuse in the first place or lessen the long-term negative impacts of hurt that has occurred in someone’s past. When caregivers and children are supported, have increased connections, access to basic needs, are able to regulate emotions, and have quality information on child development and practical caregiving tools, the risk of abuse goes down tremendously.
We know caregiving can be a challenge, especially when our own child histories may not be ideal. We also know that with love, support and prevention programs all children and families have the capacity to have a secure and bright future. We support the legacy of Dr. Purvis in that all children (young and old) deserve a safe place, safe adults and to know they are precious.
Visit our “Locations” tab on MCH.org to learn more about connecting with one of our 13 MCH Family Outreach communities across Texas and New Mexico.
-Brooke Davilla, Program Administrator for MCH Family Outreach