KANKAKEE – With the beginning of April, House Assistant Minority Leader Jackie Haas (R-Kankakee) is recognizing Child Abuse Prevention Month. National Child Abuse Prevention Month recognizes the significance of communities and families working together to prevent child abuse and neglect. This is recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
“Child abuse is a terrible evil that impacts too many innocent lives each year,” said Leader Haas. “Child Abuse Prevention Month reminds communities of their responsibilities to look after our most vulnerable neighbors and know when you see something, you must say something. This can have lifesaving effects. We can and must end child abuse in our communities so all Illinois children can live in safety.”
According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway and Children’s Bureau, the most common type of maltreatment is neglect. Identifying protective factors help parents find resources, support, or coping strategies that allow them to parent effectively—even under stress. These include nurturing and attachment, knowledge of parenting and child and youth development, parental resilience, social connections, concrete supports for parents, and social and emotional competence of children.
A key to reporting child abuse and neglect is recognizing common indicators. This expansive list can be found at ChildWelfare.gov/topics/can/identifying.
For over 30 years, Leader Haas has served her community as a social worker. She has advocated for early childhood development, in addition to behavioral health, in her role as CEO of the Helen Wheeler Center for Community Mental Health since 2000. Leader Haas serves on the Appropriations – Health & Human Services, Human Services, and Mental Health & Addiction committees.
If you have reason to believe a child you know is being abused or neglected, report it online at https://childabuse.illinois.gov (in non-emergency situations). In an emergency, call the 24-hour Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-25-ABUSE (22873). If you believe a child is in immediate danger of harm, call 911 first.