April’s Child Abuse Prevention month, and an Iowa social worker says anyone can help. Counselor Chaney Yeast says we don’t realize there are many ways in which we can fail kids. Most often we think of physical abuse like the violence that leaves bruises, burns or scratches but there’s also sexual and emotional abuse, and the most prevalent kind — neglect. She says in Iowa this past year, almost 70-percent of all abuse reports that were found to have a basis were neglect — not giving them adequate food, healthcare, or meet the basic needs of the child. The social worker says you don’t have to be on the brink of violence to take advantage of resources that help stressed-out parents.Many school districts have “parent universities,” that tell best ways to provide for your child, positive kinds of education, and other community resources provide help like respite care. Especially for small families without a “support system” of friends and relatives, that respite care can give parents a break. Yeast says parents and concerned non-parents can learn tips to prevent child abuse. Whether it’s your own kids, a neighbor’s, or someone else’s, she says you could “be that calm, safe adult” they can talk to. And an outsider often can help by offering to watch a child for a parent for a short time so they can shop, or lend a sympathetic ear so they can let out their troubles. Yeast is a social worker at Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines.
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