Chakra Discussions

April Is Child Abuse Prevention Month

by The Vaishnava Children's Initiative

Posted April 3, 2006

Introduction

Ensuring the safety of our children is the foundation for providing them with a proper education and a future as healthy and happy adults. All members of our community share part of the responsibility of protecting children.

The family home, the child's school, and social and faith organizations are places where children can thrive in the absence of abuse and neglect when preventive and investigative measures are employed.

An estimated 906,000 children were determined to be victims of child abuse or neglect in 2003. For 2003, an estimated 1,500 children died due to abuse or neglect. (US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect; nccanch.acf.hhs.gov)

Resources are available for helping individuals who have been affected by child maltreatment or who would like to help prevent it. With the right combination of education and support, child maltreatment is preventable.

The Keys to Prevention: Education and Support

Education:

- Becoming informed about child abuse and neglect helps us all to feel inspired to do our part to prevent unsafe situations for children.

- Learning skills for coping with the challenges of caring for children helps us to be in control of our feelings and behaviors.

- Sharing information with each other and our children fosters an awareness of positive options for every member of the community.

Support:

- Parenting is a challenge. Parents need nourishing adult friendships and practical assistance to care for their children effectively and safely.

- Assisting families with chores and being a good friend to parents eases the stress of caring for children and a household.

- Taking advantage of support groups in the community helps parents to get through feelings of loneliness, anger and desperation. Such groups also provide ways of meeting friends and enjoying one's parenting duties.

Education and Support Resources:

ISKCON Office of Child Protection
P.O. Box 1438, Alachua, Florida 32616, USA
Phone: 386.418.0882; Fax: 386.418.0982
cpo@pamho.net; www.childprotectionoffice.org

US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information
nccanch.acf.hhs.gov

Books about child abuse for children
Click Here

Child Abuse Prevention Month

Every year, educational, medical, governmental, and various professional, faith and neighborhood organizations around the country participate in National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Aimed at raising awareness, protecting children and strengthening families, participants spread the word about child abuse through community-wide events such as:

Blue Ribbon Campaigns - This practice began when a grandmother, devastated at the death of her grandchild by her daughter's boyfriend, tied a blue ribbon around her vehicle antenna in remembrance of him. The color blue is the color of bruises on an abused child's body as well as the color of "blue ribbons," symbolizing strength and excellence in the cause of child protection. We can all be Blue Ribbon Vaishnavas when we protect and support children! Blue ribbon can be purchased at craft stores and community members can make small blue ribbons to tie on almost anything to remind each other about child protection. [Enameled blue ribbon pins may be purchased at: Click Here. To develop a Blue Ribbon Campaign, take advantage of the strategy provided here: pca-ny.org/blueribbon.shtml#steps. Blue wrist bands / awareness bracelets may be purchased here: Click Here .]

Real Men Rock - This project is focused on preventing shaken baby syndrome by informing and involving fathers and other men. It promotes holding the child safely, close to the man's chest while rocking in a rocking chair to calm crying children - and the men themselves. So many of our devotee fathers are examples of caring, thoughtful protectors of theirs and others' children. Perhaps some of them will be inspired to share child protection information with each other and other members of their community.

Honoring a community's cultural heritage - Examples include "Honor Our Children, Honor Our Heritage" and "Honor Our Children, Drum Out Child Abuse," both of which are projects developed by Native American communities. Vaishnavism has a heritage rich in esteeming children as valuable and knowing children to be vulnerable people who must be honored and protected. We can continue that tradition throughout our world-wide society by being informed about, and involved in, child protection projects.

Distributing educational materials to community members - Copying and passing out concise information on child abuse prevention is one of the least expensive and most effective ways of reaching people. There are several resources where easy downloading and printing of simple educational materials is available. Certainly, even the most "broke" of us can contribute to ensuring children's wholeness by printing out a stack of child abuse prevention information and passing them out at the next local devotee gathering we attend. For those who have more to give, sponsoring a stock of nice pamphlets, ribbons and awareness bracelets for the community is a great way to make child abuse prevention visible, accessible, and enlivening for all community members.

The theme of this year's National Child Abuse Prevention Month is Safe Children and Healthy Families are a Shared Responsibility . A 2006 Community Resource Packet may be found, ordered and downloaded at Click Here. This packet is FREE and includes a poster (with additional free posters available as well). You may also find a Preventing Childhood Sexual Abuse brochure from the Kempe Center at: Click Here. For more information, you may download another packet entitled Child Abuse and Neglect General Information Packet by using this link: Click Here.

Simple Tips for Everyone

What to do if you feel overwhelmed while caring for children - try any or all of the following options:

- Avoid touching the child if you are angry or frustrated.

- Take deep breaths, sit down and pray for patience and compassion.

- Make sure your child is safe and go to another room by yourself until you feel calm. It's all right to tell your child in a non-threatening way that you need some time by yourself.

- Call a friend, take a walk or relax in a soothing bath or shower.

- Rub your shoulders and listen to uplifting music.

- Call a parenting support hotline such as Childhelp USA(r). This National Child Abuse Hotline number is 1-800-4-A-CHILD(r) - (1-800-422-4453) and is available 24 hours a day.

What to do to avoid conflicts and to instill discipline - utilize all of these options:

- Make your home child-friendly. Keep precious, breakable and dangerous items out of the child's sight and reach.

- Learn about common characteristics of the age of your child. (See Ages and Stages below.)

- Engage the child in activities that are age appropriate and that are in harmony with the child's abilities and interests.

- Redirect inappropriate behavior by offering the child positive and acceptable alternatives such as looking at books, coloring, singing and dancing, and helping with household tasks.

- Ignore certain behaviors that are not actually dangerous or harmful.

- Develop a rhythm to the day that incorporates meals, play, reading, individual alone time, and relaxation, and projects that the whole family enjoys.

Child Protection Teams

According to the ISKCON Office of Child Protection (CPO), a Child Protection Team is, "a group of two or three devotees, chosen by the local ISKCON community, who have initial responsibility for responding to reported child abuse. They are reasonably knowledgeable on what to do and what not to do, can offer guidance to parents and other community members, and will follow-up to insure proper procedures have been followed." (ISKCON Child Protection Office, CPO; Child Protection Teams; Click Here)

Protecting children and supporting the work of your local CPT is inspiring for everyone involved. Community members can become familiar with information on how to prevent child abuse and neglect by becoming a team member or by studying the CPT's educational materials and participating in their community-wide educational efforts. Through ongoing training of the CPT and educational projects throughout our entire community, we can ensure that our children are cared for with safety and respect.

If you have a concern about child protection within the ISKCON community, contact your local CPT or the CPO. By working together as parents, friends and concerned community members, we will develop an effective and lasting partnership in child protection.

Vaishnava Family Support Services

ISKCON Office of Child Protection
P.O. Box 1438, Alachua, Florida 32616, USA
Phone: 386.418.0882; Fax: 386.418.0982
cpo@pamho.net; www.childprotectionoffice.org

Vaisnava Family Resources
Click Here

Vaisnava Attachment Parenting Association
Click Here

Vaishnava Children's Initiative

Web site is under construction and seeking contributions in the form of pictures, articles and project profiles related to Vaishnava children and families: www.vci.srinama.com

For more information about VCI's international family-oriented community projects, please write or call us at 303.443.1609 or vci@srinama.com

Family Resources: General and Crisis Situations

For Crisis Situations:

Childhelp USA 1-800-4-A-CHILD
National Child Abuse Hotline, 24 Hours a Day

Call if you need someone to talk to and if you feel you may harm your child.

Parents Anonymous 1. 800.421.0353

This self-help organization helps parents to avoid harming their children.

To Report Suspected Abuse or Neglect:

Please inform your local CPT if you suspect or witness any form of child maltreatment within your devotional community, especially if it occurs on the Temple property. For emergency situations, where there is risk to the child's life or safety, please call 911.

For General Support:

Ages and Stages 515.294.5247

Extension Distribution Center
119 Printing and Publications Bldg.
Iowa State University Ames, IA 50011

Call or write to receive simple, useful information about children's needs and characteristics at various ages.

Zero to Three

National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families
2000 M Street, NW, Suite 200
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 638-1144

Zero to Three's Parenting A-Z:
www.zerotothree.org/ztt_parentAZ.html

National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information

Children's Bureau/ACYF
1250 Maryland Avenue, SW
Eighth Floor
Washington, DC 20024
800.394.3366 or 703.385.7565; Fax: (703) 385-3206
nccanch@icfcaliber.com
nccanch.acf.hhs.gov

Quotations about Children

The evolution of culture is ultimately determined by the amount of love, understanding and freedom experienced by its children ...

Every abandonment, every betrayal, every hateful act towards children returns tenfold a few decades later upon the historical stage,

while every empathic act that helps a child become what he or she wants to become, every expression of love toward children heals society and moves it in unexpected, wondrous new directions.

Lloyd deMause

Children need to know that they are a miracle ...that since the beginning of the world there hasn't been, and until the end of the world there will not be another child like them.

Pablo Casals

Live so that when your children think of fairness and integrity, they think of you.

H. Jackson Brown

A child's hand in yours - what tenderness and power it arouses.
You are instantly the very touchstone of wisdom and strength.

Marjorie Holmes

Stop trying to perfect your child, but keep trying to perfect your relationship with him.

Dr. Henker

Children are one-third of our population and all of our future.

Select Panel for the Promotion of Child Health

Children are the keys of paradise.

Richard Stoddard


About VCI

The Vaishnava Children's Initiative is dedicated to serving the Vaishnava children of the world by providing information and support to our families and community leaders. Our mission is "healthy families, harmonious education, holistic spirituality."

We hope that this article has served to inform and inspire members of our community. We encourage all to contact the organizations listed. Please participate in this great opportunity to become aware and active in the projects related to child protection in general and to National Child Abuse Prevention Month in particular.

On an equally inspiring note, National Family Month is celebrated in June! We are enlivened to know that the Vaishnava community is supporting Vaishnava families more and more. We invite you to participate in this dialogue through our partner, the Vaisnava Family and Community Conference located at: groups.yahoo.com/group/VFCC.

Disclaimer

The content of this article is for informational use only and is not intended to take the place of consultation with professionals in the field of child maltreatment. VCI is an independent entity and is not a function, project or representative of ISKCON or its Child Protection Office.