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    National Child Abuse Prevention Month: Shaw promotes healthy families



    Story by Airman 1st Class Kathryn Reaves 

    20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

    April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and the 20th Medical Group Family Advocacy and Resiliency Programs are working with Team Shaw members to promote healthy families and relationships.

    Child abuse and neglect are defined in the Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act as, “Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation; or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.”

    Experiencing this type of trauma can lead to issues later in life, including cognitive and emotional problems, poor physical health, criminal behavior, alcohol and drug abuse, antisocial behavior and abusive conduct as an adult.

    Some of the biggest factors leading to abuse or neglect are parents feeling isolated as well as a lack of education, flexibility and local resources, said Patti Busser, Family Advocacy outreach manager.

    To help prevent these instances, the Family Advocacy and Resiliency Programs provide resources such as Baby Basics, New Parent Support Program and Positive Parenting to help parents through all stages of childhood.

    Busser said, of these resources, the NPSP assists parents with children in the most vulnerable age group: birth to three years old.

    “A lot of the reason (they’re vulnerable to abuse) is they can’t speak up for themselves, they can’t tell somebody what’s happening to them,” said Busser.

    According to a 2017 document published by the Department of Health and Human Services Child Welfare Information Gateway, 74.8 percent of child fatalities in 2015 involved children under the age of three.

    Chrystal Beyer, Family Advocacy Program registered nurse, assists families through the NPSP.

    “As the Family Advocacy Nurse I administer clinical nursing prevention services to prevent child/spouse maltreatment,” said Beyer. “Services include education, support and anticipatory guidance in areas of growth and development across the life span, nutrition, parenting, attachment/bonding, problem solving, and individual and family health issues. I utilize an evidence-based nurturing program curriculum and educate in developmental screening, age appropriate discipline, age appropriate play, newborn care, (the period of increased crying), breastfeeding and toilet training.”

    The voluntary service is available for military members and family members expecting a baby or who have children between birth and three years of age.

    By educating parents about topics such as age appropriate discipline and developmental stages including periods of inconsolable crying, Beyer can help families reduce stress and frustration.

    Actively working toward prevention, getting the right support services in place and providing education may ensure the frustration level of parents never gets so high that they find themselves exploding, Busser said.

    “In a moment of frustration, parents lose it sometimes,” said Busser. “Their temper and the frustration build up and they lash out at a child. That’s abuse. They never meant to hurt their child, they never planned to hurt their child … but something happens and they cross that line.”

    Signs of child abuse and neglect include sudden changes in behavior, unexplained or untreated injuries, fear of caretaker, lack of medical care, being dirty or improperly dressed, attachment issues and isolation.

    Individuals who notice these signs, or have suspicions of abuse or neglect, are asked to contact the local Department of Social Services, Family Advocacy Program, or contact 911 in an emergency situation

    “Always be open and aware of what’s going on around you,” said Busser. “Look for the kind of things that would worry you if it was your child. … Trust your instinct, keep watching and be aware.”

    For more information about the prevention of child abuse and neglect, contact the Family Advocacy and Resiliency Programs at 803-895-6091.



    Date Taken: 04.09.2018
    Date Posted: 04.10.2018 09:30
    Story ID: 272424
    Location: SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, SC, US 

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