Prevent Child Abuse North Dakota (PCAND) and the North Dakota Department of Human Services are encouraging North Dakotans to join them in wearing blue on Friday, April 3, to show support for children and families during National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
The goal: Reinforce the message that “everyone plays a role in making great childhoods happen.”
“COVID-19 has made life difficult for everyone – especially children and families. Although the risk to our children’s physical health from the outbreak itself appears to be lower, in times of extreme stress and uncertainty, children are at greater risk for experiencing child abuse and neglect,” says PCAND Executive Director Sandy Tibke.
Tibke notes parents are having to cope with school and workplace closings and added stress from loss of income, changes in their child care situation, and even food insecurity, she said. Additionally, while social distancing is important for health reasons, it increases the risk for isolation, which can negatively impact individuals’ mental well-being and parenting abilities.
The North Dakota Department of Human Services’ Children and Family Services Division contracts with PCAND to implement primary prevention strategies to support children and families and reduce child maltreatment. The division supports and funds numerous statewide child abuse and neglect prevention programs and activities in collaboration with PCAND, the North Dakota State University Extension Service – Parent Education Network and other public and private partners.
The department reminds individuals that if they suspect a child is being abused or neglected, they should call their local human service zone office, formerly known as county social services office. Contact information can be found at www.nd.gov/dhs/locations/countysocialserv.
If a child is in immediate danger, contact law enforcement.