Special to Iredell Free News

RALEIGH — Recognizing the importance of caring connections, supportive environments and positive experiences for all children and families, Gov. Roy Cooper declared April as Child Abuse Prevention Month in North Carolina.

“Our children are precious and deserve to be nurtured and protected. It’s important that we build a strong foundation for them so that they can learn, play and grow,” Cooper said in a video message. “We’re doing more to wrap services around the whole family. When we work together to support our children and families in every corner of our state, we can build a strong future for all.”

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services and Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina recognize everyone has a stake in prioritizing equal opportunities for every child from each community in the state to build a more prosperous future for all during Child Abuse Prevention Month in April.

“April is a time for North Carolinians step up and help to build caring connections, supportive environments and positive experiences for all children and families,” said NCDHHS Secretary Kody Kinsley. “Child and family well-being is one of DHHS’ top priorities, to make sure every child in North Carolina grows up safe, healthy, and thriving in a nurturing and resilient community.”

April 2022 marks the third year Child Abuse Prevention Month occurs during the COVID-19 pandemic. While metrics are improving, many North Carolina families continue to find themselves under great stress that can lead to significant increases in the risk of child maltreatment. COVID-19 has added stressors that can overload parents and caregivers, such as loss of employment, loss of income due to lack of paid leave, changing child care and schooling arrangements, and food insecurity.

While children and families are facing unprecedented stress during the pandemic, child maltreatment is preventable. There are programs, strategies and policies proven to strengthen families so they can address their basic needs and better care for their children.

“Research shows that positive childhood experiences and caring connections grow thriving families and communities,” said Sharon Hirsch, PCANC president & CEO. “While every season is a new opportunity to build sturdy foundations for children, this Child Abuse Prevention Month is an opportunity to redefine how our policies, systems and communities propel children into becoming healthy, thriving members of their community and reaching their full potential. Please join us in prioritizing safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments for children, allowing families and entire communities to succeed — today and for generations to come.”

For more information on Child Abuse Prevention Month, including a toolkit with customized resources for school counselors, faith communities and early care and education providers, visit preventchildabusenc.org.

About Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina

Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina ensures that child maltreatment prevention is a priority for North Carolina and all communities have the knowledge, support and resources to prevent child abuse and neglect. Through collaboration with partners across North Carolina, PCANC works with communities to build safe, stable, nurturing relationships for all children. PCANC is the North Carolina chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America. PCANC is a proud recipient of Charity Navigator’s prestigious 4-star rating and GuideStar’s Platinum Seal of Transparency.

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