In Kentucky, ending child abuse means supporting parents

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Kentucky has some of the highest rates of child abuse and neglect in the country.

When we reflect on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic to date, constant uncertainty and anxiety is at the fore for many. It could be the uncertainty of your family’s financial stability, the health of your aging parents, or your children’s academic progress. Or maybe it’s the anxiety of the big life changes of the past 18 months – from family isolation to the loss of a family member.

Just as we have all entered the uncharted territory of a global pandemic, every day new parents face the uncertainty and anxiety of the major life change of bringing a new baby home. . As parents, we vividly remember those early days at home with our little ones – or at least the fuzzy moments of sleep deprivation. Those difficult times when baby has difficulty bottle or breastfeeding. Joyful moments from the first successful sleep routine. Or those confusing, anxious times when you can’t get the baby to stop crying even with a clean diaper and a full tummy.

Through each of these vulnerable times for new parents (and throughout the pandemic), the connection with our circle – be it family, friends, neighbors, the religious community, or professionals. caregivers – stands out as the most essential support. We offer three reminders to parents and community members as we face these times:

Know the strength of a helping hand. Whether it’s a helping hand at the grocery store or a “you got this!” SMS, small gestures of kindness can go a long way. Parents can also contact the HANDS home visiting program in their community to better understand child development and have appropriate expectations regarding normal child behavior – by collecting other tools for their parenting toolkit. .

Don’t underestimate the power of rest and self-care. Taking care of yourself when you are also responsible for taking care of others is no small task, but it is necessary for our personal and family well-being. Parents, be empowered to ask for help when you need to rest and recharge. Those in a parent’s circle are committed to providing this break as a safe caregiver.

Keeping children safe is an adult responsibility that spans across professions, families and neighbors. In Kentucky, where we have more than double the national rate of child abuse under the age of 1, every adult is a commissioned child abuse reporter. Learn the signs and how to report.

Kosair Charities and over 115 community partners from across Kentucky in the Face It movement are unwavering in our commitment to promote best practices in child abuse prevention and intervention, to raise awareness and engage the community. on how to help families thrive and how to advocate for policies to improve the child protection system.

As part of this effort, starting Monday, October 4, we are organizing TEN-4 Day proclamation events and a series of abuse prevention and recognition trainings for affected professionals and community members to ” learn more about their role in child protection. Hundreds of nurses, social workers, educators, dental professionals and other caring adults will learn prevention tips as well as the TEN-4 bruise rule, which describes suspicious bruises in young children, especially in infants four months of age or younger that are not normal and should be reported to Child Protective Services at 1-877-KYSAFE1.

Face It is also proud to partner with community organizations that are present through the difficult, joyful and confusing times of parents by organizing events focused on these tools to help families thrive.

Our youngest Kentuckians are the most vulnerable – especially in times of uncertainty and anxiety – so running for new parents can prepare families for success. We each play an important role in preventing and recognizing child abuse AND supporting new parents. Only then can we make real progress in our goal of ending child abuse in the Commonwealth.

How do you present yourself to the new parents in your life today?

Christina Howard, MD, FAAP is chief of the division of pediatric forensic pathology at the University of Kentucky; Keith Inman is President of Kosair Charities®; and Kenneth Reiss is Chairman of the Board of Kosair Charities. Learn more at www.faceitmovement.org.


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