April was National Child Abuse Prevention Month. May is here, and this important issue needs our attention more than ever.
This spring, our nation is experiencing societal disruption not seen in a century. The coronavirus pandemic has taken thousands of lives, ravaged our economy, disrupted our societal patterns and placed the most vulnerable among us at risk of even greater potential harm. Children living in poverty with caregivers struggling with providing for their family and their own mental health challenges are at greater risk for abuse or neglect. Right now, child victims do not have school or child care professionals to involve law enforcement when abuse or neglect is suspected.
A Child’s Haven provides therapeutic child care for victims of abuse and neglect along with therapeutic interventions for caregivers, many of whom have suffered similar trauma in their youth. COVID-19 forced us to temporarily close our campus on March 23, but our dedicated licensed therapists continue serving our families with new, innovative strategies to treat and support them from a distance.
One of our child and family therapists recently reported, “I have been working on ways that one of my families can help their son continue to show progress and adapt to all the recent changes. His mom has been able to implement therapeutic activities to help establish a routine for him.”
A Child’s Haven is providing for basic needs as well. We established a COVID-19 Relief Fund to purchase grocery store gift cards, and our staff is dropping them off with dry goods and cleaning items to help families through this difficult time.
We will emerge from this crisis, and social distancing will end, but along the way our children need our help, guidance and protection. If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected or is in immediate danger, call 911. If you think a family could benefit from our services, visit AChildsHaven.org to make a referral or contact us.
Tanya Camunas is executive director of A Child’s Haven and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.