April is Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month
This month organizations from around the globe will participate in an awareness campaign to shine a light on the issues of child abuse and neglect. Child maltreatment is more common than people think, on Big Island specifically incidence of Child Abuse have been historically high. Agencies like Neighborhood Place of Puna cite factors like poverty and stress as possible contributors to families at risk of Child Abuse and Neglect.
“We all know that children thrive in a nurturing, safe, and stable home. Creating such a home requires that there be sufficient healthy food for the children, access to timely and appropriate medical care, stable housing, and loving adults to nurture children through developmentally appropriate parenting.” says Paul Normann, Executive Director of Neighborhood Place of Puna, a local family focused agency.
In addition to working as Executive Director of Neighborhood Place of Puna, Paul also chairs the East Hawaii Coalition to Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect, or EHCAN. Other participating agencies include Child and Family Services, the YWCA, and E Hiki Mai Ana (NEXT) LLC, Catholic Charities, the County of Hawai’i, United Healthcare, HMSA. the Children’s Justice Center, the Friends of the Children’s Justice Center, Department of Health, Department of Education and the YMCA.
According to Paul, “It is important that we, as a community, reduce the number of children who are victims of Child Abuse and Neglect. Data shows that childhood traumas (abuse/neglect) have lifelong impacts on the victims, leading to Increased risks for chronic illness, premature death, mental health issues, substance abuse, etc. The members of the EHCAN work together to support families and children, advocate for additional resources to help families, and raise awareness about child maltreatment.”
Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month will be happening all of April. Use the hashtag #HawaiiCAN with a selfie of you and your family and share why your ‘Ohana stands behind ending Child Abuse and Neglect in Hawai’i. Tune into the Mayor’s Proclamation and EHCAN address on April 8th at 9am for the virtual awareness kickoff. Register to participate at ehcan.org.