Children are the future of our communities, and their growth and development affect us all. It's up to us as a community to make a difference in our children's lives. It's up to all of us to keep children safe from abuse and neglect. We can do this as individuals and together as a community. Sometimes it's as simple as conversing every day.
Seeing an out-of-control adult mistreat a child is very disturbing. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help.
- Talk to the adult to take their attention off the child. Say things like:
- My child upsets me too, sometimes.
- Your child has beautiful eyes.
- Children can wear you out, can't they? Is there anything I can do to help?
- Distract the child, if misbehaving, by talking to the child.
- Look for chances to praise the parent or child.
- Help a child who is in danger. For example, if the child is left unattended in a grocery cart, stay with the child until the parent returns.
- Avoid saying anything critical or giving negative looks because that is likely to increase the parent's anger and could make matters worse.
You can become a leader in your community by promoting child abuse prevention – particularly during April, which is Child Abuse Prevention Month. Use the materials on this website to make child abuse prevention efforts thrive in all aspects of your community.
Teachers and child-care workers are often a child's first line of defense. You play a big role in their lives. Here are a few ideas about things you can do to emphasize the importance of child abuse prevention.
- Copy and print kids’ activities to send home with the children.
- Have children create child abuse prevention bulletin boards.
- Designate Blue Ribbon Day on campus.
- Have your classes design and make blue ribbons to wear and explain that it's the symbol for preventing child abuse.
- Help "stomp out" child abuse by having children collect new pairs of socks to donate to the local Rainbow Room or Child Protective Services (CPS) office.
- Hold a teddy bear drive for your local police department or children's advocacy center for children in crisis.
- Send child abuse prevention information home in homework folders or report cards.
- Have your classes participate in the Adopt-A-Caseworker program by providing new clothing and other items for the children they serve.
Neighborhoods should be safe and supportive places where children and families thrive.
As neighbors, we need to do our part to increase public and private investment in our neighborhoods. Get to know your neighbors. Learn to recognize any problems that might lead to abuse or neglect. It's up to us to protect children from abuse and neglect.
What can you do?
- Host an ice cream social on your street to get to know your neighbors.
- If you see a child under five unsupervised, stop and help locate their caregiver.
- Offer a helping hand for single parents in your neighborhood. For example, babysit, cook a meal, or transport children.
- Help form an after-school safe house for children.
- Volunteer at your local school, Rainbow Room, social service agency's children's shelter, or CPS office.
- Be a mentor to neighborhood youth.
- Host a basketball, baseball, or soccer game to encourage relationships between children in the neighborhood.
- Start a playgroup in your neighborhood.
A community's most influential organizations are often its religious institutions. Churches, temples, synagogues, mosques, and other faith-based groups play an important role in helping families and children who are at risk of child abuse. Spiritual leaders can add their voices to preventing abuse and neglect.
- Copy materials from this website and distribute them through Sunday school classes and the church bulletin.
- Offer to help congregation and community members who need short-term relief from care-giving and foster-care responsibilities.
- Have a mentoring program that works one-on-one with children and families and gives them positive role models.
- Give parents information about child development, parental stress, and community resources.
- Share information with your members about prevention hotlines and how to report child abuse and neglect.
- Sponsor after-school programs and safety trainings for children.
- Partner with your local Children's Advocacy Center or child welfare board to host an informational meeting on child abuse prevention and/or how to become a foster/adoptive parent.
- Train religious and lay leaders to recognize child abuse and neglect, to work with victims and their families, and to make appropriate referrals.
- Develop parenting and child development curricula as part of church education and outreach.
- Develop training programs for youth in your congregation who want to be babysitters.
- Celebrate children and families by holding a family affair day.
- Host a book drive for new books and donate them to your local Rainbow Room or children's shelter.
- Organize a baby shower to collect diapers, formula, car seats, and other supplies to support families in need, including foster families. Donate these items to your local Rainbow Room or CPS office.
- Participate in the Adopt-A-Caseworker program. Contact your local CPS office or community specialist for more information.
Child-centered coaching is a philosophy that emphasizes the importance of helping young children develop their positive overall self-image through sports. "Try your hardest to do the best you can" is the message that, when carried over to other aspects of life, will truly help children have fun and feel like winners.
Why Children Play Sports
- Have fun.
- Learn and improve skills.
- Be with friends and make new ones.
- Experience excitement.
- Feel successful or like a winner.
- Exercise and become physically fit.
Why Children Drop Out of Sports
- Not enough playing time.
- Being criticized and insulted.
- Feeling failure or like a loser.
- Poor organization.
The Child-Centered Coach
- Understands the child is the main reason the game is played.
- Promotes winning as a feeling – winning is knowing that you have done your best.
- Praises players for being and doing.
- Uses only gentle touch and respects the privacy of a child's body.
- Motivates the players to provide continuous, positive support for all team players.
- Uses comparable playing time to give everyone a moment of glory.
- Creates a mood that makes the game fun.
- Expects a child to perform only as much as the child's age allows.
- Establishes clear expectations and standards of conduct that promote success and sportsmanship.
- Encourages appropriate behavior by using praise, appropriate touch, and privileges.
- Treats players with respect when administering discipline.
- Teaches players how to appropriately express and manage feelings of discomfort.
- Knows that kids look to coaches for direction and example.
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) has a central place to report:
- Child abuse and neglect.
- Abuse, neglect, self-neglect, and exploitation of elderly or adults with disabilities living at home.
- Abuse of children in child-care facilities or treatment centers.
- Abuse of adults and children who are in state facilities or are helped by programs for people with mental illness or intellectual disabilities run by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) or Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS).
Texas law says anyone who thinks a child, a person 65 years or older, or an adult with disabilities is being abused, neglected, or exploited must report it to DFPS. A person who reports abuse in good faith is immune from civil or criminal liability. DFPS keeps the name of the person making the report confidential. Anyone who does not report suspected abuse can be held liable for a misdemeanor or felony. Time frames for investigating reports are based on severity of allegations. Reporting suspected child abuse makes it possible for a family to get help.
If you suspect child abuse, you can report it by calling 1-800-252-54001-800-252-5400 24 hours a day, seven days a week, nationwide. Or visit www.txabusehotline.org and place a report through our secure website, and you will receive a response within 24 hours. We cannot accept e-mail reports of suspected abuse or neglect. Learn more about reporting abuse and neglect at www.dfps.state.tx.us.