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    Child Abuse Prevention Month: Campaign kicks off at ACS

    Child Abuse Prevention Month: Campaign kicks off at ACS

    Photo By Devin Fisher | FORT CARSON, Colo. — Col. Eric S. Strong, deputy commander for maneuver, 4th...... read more read more



    Story by Aleah Castrejon 

    Fort Carson Public Affairs Office

    By Aleah M. Castrejon

    Mountaineer editor

    FORT CARSON, Colo. — At least one in seven children have experienced child abuse and/or neglect in the past year, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2019, over 1,800 children died of abuse and neglect in the U.S.

    Col. Eric S. Strong, deputy commander for maneuver, 4th Infantry Division, said this is completely preventable, as he kicked off the Fort Carson National Child Abuse Prevention Month event at the Army Community Service (ACS) Annex, April 1, 2021.

    “Children are very dear to me — my wife and I have five,” Strong added. “I think where I am today is in large part truly (due to) family, and not just blood relatives, who raised me and provided me the opportunity to get here.”

    There are unique challenges in the military, but Strong emphasized a specific message to the community.

    “I think you can be a great Soldier; I think you can be a great spouse and I think you can be a great parent, and I think you can do all of those simultaneously,” he said. “They have challenges, but you can do them and there is truly an entire … installation here to support.”

    From home visits and building relationships with Soldiers and their Families, to helping Families build caring and loving relationships among each other, ACS has information through classes and other means, said Crystal Nierman, New Parent Support Home Visitor and Registered Nurse, ACS.

    “I want the community to know that the ACS program has a plethora of resources available,” she added.

    Sometimes Soldiers are away from their Families, and Nierman said, “ACS can do their best to be supportive and encourage a cohesive and healthy Family environment.”

    While there may not be a class for every bit of information, Nierman said ACS has access to the necessary information as well as a knowledgeable staff to provide assistance even if it’s not available through a class or program.

    There are many beneficial programs including the Nurturing Parenting Program, classes for new moms and dads, which help even if a Family is having a third child because “all children are different,” Nierman added. “Additionally, Toddler Time and Play Group are also available and offer support from staff other military Families.”

    And because all children are different, even the way they are loved can look different, which is taught and incorporated through their love languages. Nierman said learning a love language is not only for parents and spouses, but parents with children, as well.

    “Building their love language is important to build the relationship in that capacity as well,” she said.

    Strong said the most important thing a child needs is a safe, loving and nurturing environment.

    “They don’t need a rich environment,” he added. “They don’t need perfect two parents who never make mistakes. They don’t need to have everything they think they want … they don’t need new cars, they don’t need to live in brick houses; they need to know they are loved, and I am using that word specifically.”

    Strong said its more than just telling a child they are loved or saying “I love you”, he said they need to feel it and “know they’re loved— it’s not good enough for me to love my children, my children have to know I love them.”

    Children go through different stages and challenges, and parenting is hard, there is no instruction manual that comes with it, Strong said.

    Even if there were a manual, it would be an ever-changing one, which is where ACS can assist.

    “The great news is there is an organization here on Fort Carson that can help, and that is our Army Community Service program,” he said.

    ACS offers everything from new parents’ workshops and dad and mom bootcamp to breastfeeding classes and home visits.

    “The point is, if you’re in need, there is someone here, and the great thing about the Army is, we are in the Army 24/7 and people will come to your aid all the time,” Strong said.

    Other classes include learning how to communicate, including sign language, as well as how to control emotions as a parent. While a child is still learning how to control emotions the parents should already know how, he said. ACS can also help parents learn how to communicate with each other and with caregivers.

    “I ask that you educate yourself with what’s available. I ask that you inform the men and women you serve with, who may not know, who may be reluctant to go — to inform them of the resources (that ACS offers),” Strong said. “I ask that you encourage those same men and women to go, there’s nothing that the professionals here haven’t heard and can’t help with.”

    Nierman reiterated the importance of leaders ensuring their troops receive the time to care for their Families.

    “Providing Soldiers and Families with that time is beneficial to Soldier readiness,” she added. “When Families are taken care of, Soldiers can focus on the mission at hand. And allowing them to participate with ACS services increases Family readiness and support, and in turn Soldier readiness.”

    Strong said it’s important to take the time to shape the parents and the children in order to instill resiliency for when hard times come.

    “Take the time to be educated and inform subordinates by encouraging them to seek help through ACS and giving them the time” to seek the help they may need, Strong said. “The number can be reduced for the one-in-seven American children who are the victim of child abuse.”

    Commands should also know that ACS can be “on the go,” Nierman said. Their information is portable and classes can be given to units upon request. She also said if units are experiencing any challenges, it is a good idea to reach out to ACS. With the many resources, the staff is on hand to help.

    The ACS Annex is located at 1481 Titus Blvd., building 7492, and can be reached at 719-428-9563 or visit and on Facebook at “FortCarsonACSNurturingand NewParentSupportProgram.”



    Date Taken: 04.01.2021
    Date Posted: 05.04.2021 15:27
    Story ID: 395614
    Location: US

    Web Views: 6
    Downloads: 0