Catawba County News

We Can All Help Children, Families in Trying Times

We Can All Help Children, Families in Trying Times

Published: April 24, 2020

By Karen Harrington, MSW, LCSW, Director, Catawba County Social Services

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. As everyone knows, EVERY month should be child abuse prevention month. In North Carolina, child protection is everyone’s job – we are all responsible, under the law, to report suspected child abuse or neglect. Due to the impact of COVID-19, it may be more important now than ever before to make a report if you are worried that a child may be experiencing harm.

In Catawba County, approximately 33% of all child abuse reports in a given year are made by people who typically have regular contact with children (such as daycare providers, teachers, doctors, and relatives). With the closure of schools and some daycares and the cancellation of non-emergency medical appointments, the natural helpers and those who make every 1 in 3 reports of abuse/neglect may not be in a position to do so in our current environment. We also know that in times of crisis when families are experiencing great stress, children can be even more at risk.

What is the good news? Our community is strong and has a reputation for coming together for the collective good of every citizen, particularly children. There are many wonderful non-profits and faith-based organizations ready and willing to support families in concrete ways – with food assistance, for example. Social distancing doesn’t have to mean social isolation – check in on your neighbors with children and offer support if you are able. Drop off a bag of food on the doorstep of someone you know with children if you can. Parents, reach out for help – connect with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling. It is OK to ask for help!

If you are concerned about the safety of a child and suspect child abuse or neglect, call 828-324-9111.

April is quickly coming to an end. I sure wish child abuse and neglect were, too.