Love. Comfort. Safety. These are just a few words that were used by our clients and staff to describe what home meant to them. When people talk about their home, it is supposed to represent positive characteristics of family. However, in a violent household, home is no longer where the heart is.
According to the National Center for Children Exposed to Violence, the occurrence of domestic violence in the home is the single most common precursor to child deaths in the United States. On average, between four and seven children pass away everyday due to child abuse and neglect. During the month of April, Human Options kicked off Child Abuse Prevention Month with our “Starts at Home” campaign. Although violence in the household is a cause of abusive behavior, child abuse prevention can also Start at Home with parents, guardians, and siblings setting themselves as good role models for the children.
The Starts at Home Campaign reached out to several elementary schools and family resource centers around Orange County. These presentations focused on how violence displayed at home affects the different stages of development a child experiences, mentally, physically, psychologically, and emotionally. The campaign also hosted a Door Decorating Contest encouraging young boys and girls to creatively design a door in the theme of Child Abuse Prevention. After receiving an overwhelming amount of applicants, we declared Stanton Family Resource Center as our winner. They produced a creative design that allowed several of their kids to participate in presenting a positive message. Jason Ward, the Stanton FRC Coordinator, states that “the activity provided healthy dialogue with the children we serve on what child abuse is and how to prevent it.”
Additionally, our very own Minnie Street Family Resource Center had a huge presence during Child Abuse Prevention Month by hosting a Blue Ribbon Health and Safety Resource Fair at Kennedy Elementary School. During the Fair, they encouraged students to pledge against violence with their thumbprints as leaves on a beautiful oak tree. They also organized a pledge contest with the children, encouraging them to creatively design on our pledge paper on “What Home Means to You,” awarding the winners with gift cards to Yogurtland and Toys R Us. With over 160 adults, 150 kids, and 32 local agencies who participated, it was definitely a huge success for Minnie Street.
When a child witnesses domestic violence, it is child abuse. By starting the conversation with your young ones at home and being good role models, child abuse can be prevented. Violent behavior typically begins during the ages of 12 and 18. However, the cycle of violence can be broken because child abuse prevention Starts at Home.