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Building Resilient Minds: Advocating for Child Mental Health During Child Abuse Prevention Month

What You Need to Know:

April was first named Child Abuse Prevention Month in 1983. Each year since, communities and organizations have promoted advocacy for children experiencing abuse or neglect during the month.

At Snellings Law, we are parents too. We know the importance of keeping kids happy and healthy. We are staunch advocates for child safety, and we understand that child abuse is not just a legal concern but also a complex issue that profoundly impacts a child’s mental health.

With April fast approaching, we want to emphasize the collective responsibility we share to protect the kids in our community. As child injury lawyers, we are very familiar with the legal frameworks that address child abuse and neglect. It is equally crucial to emphasize the mental health aspect of child abuse and neglect. Through working together as a community, we can make North Texas a safe place for kids to grow and thrive.

Building Resilient Minds- Advocating for Child Mental Health During Child Abuse Prevention Month

Child Abuse and Mental Health

The U.S. government defines child abuse, or child maltreatment, 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” in the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that approximately 1 in 7 children experience abuse and neglect. However, they also state that this number is most likely inaccurately low due to underreporting of child abuse and neglect.

When a child undergoes abuse or neglect, the consequences can be devastating. Not only may they experience physical injury, but the mental, emotional, and behavioral consequences can plague them for the rest of their lives.

The CDC reports that long-term abuse can cause toxic stress for the child. This amount of stress during their key development years can cause Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and negatively affect their learning, attention, and memory.

Child maltreatment can also put children at risk of future substance abuse, sexually transmitted infection (STIs), violence, and mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, self-harm, or disordered eating.

What Can You Do?

The fact is that most child abuse and fatalities can be prevented. Prevention of child abuse and neglect starts and ends with action and awareness from the community. You’ve probably heard the phrase “it takes a village” when it comes to raising children. It’s true; we each have a role to play in preventing child abuse and neglect in our community.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) is the government organization in charge of investigating child abuse and neglect cases. They provide information on their website about Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) programs. According to DFPS, kids thrive in safe and stable communities and families. It takes the collaboration of community members, leaders, organizations, resources, and policies to create these types of communities. For more information on PEI, check out these programs here.

What Can You Do to prevent childhood neglect

There are also a few unique things you can do to get involved during National Child Abuse Prevention Month through Prevent Child Abuse America. You can raise awareness on April 19th, or Digital Advocacy Day, by sharing information about community-backed child abuse prevention. You can also contact your elected members of Congress to express support for the program. You can also plant a virtual pinwheel to show your support and wear blue throughout the month of April.

For Child Abuse Prevention Month, our Snellings Law team is volunteering for the Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County (CAC). The CAC is dedicated to helping children get the safety, healing, and justice they deserve. They provide services directly to children to help them heal from the trauma of abuse. They also work to create awareness in the community—which is key to creating safe spaces for children and families to thrive.

If you’d also like to get involved with the wonderful work the Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County is doing, you can learn more by clicking here.

Snellings Law Cares About Child Safety

As child injury lawyers, we’ve seen the horrors that can occur when kids aren’t under safe care. As parents and community members, we want to do everything we can to prevent child abuse and neglect in North Texas.

If a child has been abused or neglected by their daycare, please report the abuse to and contact Snellings Law immediately. We offer free strategy sessions to discuss your child’s case and determine the next steps. Call us at (214) 387-0387 to schedule your free strategy session.

Snellings Law Cares About Child Safety