April is Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month.
Child Abuse and Neglect is an uncomfortable subject for discussion. It can bring up feelings of guilt, shame, or past trauma. But the unfortunate reality is that every day there are children who experience abuse and/or damaging neglect.
On the Big Island, 438 children were victims of maltreatment in the last year alone. 438 children that we know about. There are others — unknown — who continue to suffer unseen or unheard. This is why April is Child Abuse and Neglect PREVENTION month. We all play a role in keeping our Keiki safe. We can all educate ourselves about child maltreatment, neglect, and what we can do.
Neighborhood Place of Puna was founded as a response to the high rates of child maltreatment in East Hawaii. The founders wanted to create a resource center where parents and families could find help. A place where parents could find diapers, or formula, or a little extra food. A place to get help with housing or even learn how to become better parents. A welcoming resource center where people listen and understand and help a family find the resources necessary to be successful as parents and as a family.
Neighborhood Place of Puna also exists for the larger community. We strive to build a stronger and more resilient community that can support and nurture families. This April we teamed up with the East Hawaii Coalition to Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect(EHCAN) to raise awareness about Child Maltreatment through two events.
The first was a Webinar in which Mayor Mitch Roth formally proclaimed April Child Abuse and Neglect Awareness Month. The proclamation was followed by a wonderful presentation on Adverse Childhood Experiences. A replay of the Webinar is available on the EHCAN website.
For the second awareness event, we joined the Food Basket for a public food distribution event on April 14th. We gave the children present fun activities to do while waiting in line. For the parents, we provided information about resources — like rental assistance — available during these difficult COVID times.
Sharing awareness is one way of helping our community members find an outlet for addressing the sadness we all feel when we encounter child maltreatment on our island. We hope you will take some time to watch the replay of the Webinar. Please help us educate our community by sharing the webinar — or what you learned from watching it — with your friends and family.
You can support the work that Neighborhood Place of Puna does to help families and prevent child maltreatment by making a one-time or recurring donation.
Mahalo to those who have helped raise awareness for Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month! We appreciate all the work you do to support Big Island families in raising safe and healthy children.