April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- Why do I care? I worked for years in Florida in Child Protective Services.

I obtained my Master of Social Work in 1996, and I have been a licensed clinical social worker since 2001.

I saw children with marks and bruises after they had been beaten with objects. I saw children, after they had been sexually abused, with resulting physical and emotional trauma.

Some children needed medical care, and they were neglected. Parents and other adults put their needs above the needs of children.

Why should you care? Abuse and neglect cases happen in all locations. One sexual abuse case that I worked involved several children, and it was on an Air Force Base.

I went to school to become a social worker in order to work towards prevention of these types of cases. It takes all of us getting involved as a community in order to protect children.

A child may not go to school or be visible in the community, and it may take a neighbor to notice that something is wrong in the life of that child.

An older child seen sucking a thumb and not interacting with other children could be a reason to be concerned. A child wearing long sleeves when it is a hot summer day could mean that the shirt is covering marks or bruises, when the child was hit by an adult on a previous day.

A child harming an animal in a deliberate way is a red flag.

If you think that a child is being abused or neglected, you can call family advocacy and report your concerns. Family advocacy addresses prevention, as well as treatment.

The new Parent Support Program can provide visits from nurses in the homes of parents with children up to the age of three. Classes are also available for anger and stress management, couples communication and parenting skills.

You can call 702-652-3880 to report concerns, obtain more information and to register for a class.