April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

Nationwide, April has been designated as Child Abuse Prevention Month. The South Dakota Department of Social Services (DSS) encourages all South Dakotans to work together to keep children safe and secure, and offer the support families need to stay together.

“It is the right of every child to feel safe and secure in their home,” said State Department of Social Services Secretary Lynne Valenti.

Individuals can be part of the prevention effort by:
· Learning about the signs of child abuse and neglect. Educate yourself and be prepared to recognize the signs. Learn more about the common signs of abuse and neglect at http://dss.sd.gov/childprotection/signs.aspx.
· Asking for help. As a caregiver, there are many resources available to provide support. Common Sense Parenting classes are held throughout the state and cover topics ranging from reducing family stress to enriching relationships with young children. For more information on this program, visit http://dss.sd.gov/childprotection/parentingprogram.aspx.
· Offering a helping hand to friends and neighbors. Let parents know you are available and willing to talk, or offer to give parents a rest by taking care of their children. Volunteer your time at local community programs providing support for families, such as after-school programs, athletic or church activities.
· Reporting suspected child abuse and neglect. If you have reason to believe a child is being abused or neglected, report it by calling 1-877-244-0864, or contacting your local law enforcement after-hours.
· Wearing a blue ribbon. Throughout the month, citizens are asked to wear blue ribbons or tie them to their vehicle antennas to spread the message of child-abuse prevention.

“DSS is committed to the families of South Dakota and providing resources when needed to help keep children safe and with their family,” said Secretary Valenti.