Prevention with Purpose
Blue Bow Campaign ramps up to support efforts to prevent child abuse by strengthening families.
Each year we recognize April as Child Abuse Prevention Month––and every year I wish we didn’t have to. But, unfortunately, maltreatment of children has proved to be a persistent, hurtful and damaging reality.
Knowing that there are children experiencing or witnessing violence as part of their daily lives is sobering: In this past year, 1 in 7 children in the US has experienced abuse. In 2018, 76 percent of child abuse perpetrators were parents––62 percent of children in foster care were removed from their homes due to neglect, the most common form of abuse. We also know that, if left unchecked, adult survivors of abuse are more likely to experience mental health issues and are more likely to engage in high-risk behaviors like drug and alcohol use.
Throughout the month of April, Children’s Home & Aid is again recognizing and highlighting this year’s National Child Abuse Prevention Month theme, Thriving Children and Families: Prevention with Purpose. Now more than ever, our families need to know that they are the center of our work and there are tools, resources, and steps that everyone can take to prevent child abuse. The blue bow continues to be a symbol of the campaign to end abuse and is also a signal to families experiencing abuse that we hear their often-silent cries and we at Children’s Home & Aid are prepared to help.
Since 1989, the national Blue Bow Campaign has existed to raise awareness of child abuse and prevention. The Illinois Blue Bow Committee, run by Children’s Home & Aid and a partnership of social and community service organizations, has annually hosted dozens of events over the years during Child Abuse Prevention Month.
The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) and Strengthening Families Illinois generated Six Protective Factors that mitigate or eliminate risk in individuals, families, and communities. These simple, effective strategies are important to build upon so families are strengthened, feel supported and able to care for children safely well before abuse is a possibility. Providing this support is one of the single most important things we can do for our families.
As teachers, clinicians, social workers and as people deeply invested in seeing our families thrive, we are often remarkably close to these cases and are affected when families like Bonnie Finney’s––who began the blue bow campaign with us over 20 years ago––are devastated at the hands of violence. Team members continue to do whatever it takes to connect to families to prevent instances of neglect or abuse.
This month, you will hear more from Children’s Home & Aid staff who are taking simple, yet practical steps to engage parents and reinforce the idea that they have safe spaces to speak freely and receive perspectives from coaches and other parents. We also hope to hear from families about how our parenting programs have helped turn things around.
We also hope that you’ll help us spread the word and create awareness around this important campaign and how we continue to do what it takes to promote the social and emotional well-being of children and families.
Thank you for visiting our Blue Bow Campaign page and for your participation. The issues in front of us cannot be solved in one month or even a year, but if we continue to examine the many factors––access, social justice, and equitable outcomes for families––together, we can support communities so they can thrive.
President & CEO