In recognition of national Child Abuse Prevention (CAP) Month in April, Prevent Child Abuse North Dakota (PCAND) and North Dakota Health and Human Services (HHS) are joining parent and family resource centers, local child welfare service providers and other partner agencies in highlighting the importance of working together in communities to serve and support children and families so that child abuse and neglect can be prevented.
PCAND Executive Director Christy Dodd said, “With our national organization Prevent Child Abuse America, we are pleased to lead this year’s awareness and impact campaign, ‘Building Together: Prevention in Partnership.’ Our team is dedicated to bringing new and existing partners together to support North Dakota children and families.”
Annually, there are between 1,000-1,200 confirmed cases of child abuse or neglect in North Dakota. Extreme stress, unmet needs and uncertainty for families may increase the risk of child abuse and neglect.
HHS Children and Family Services Section Director Cory Pedersen agreed collaboration and local community engagement and support are effective strategies to reduce child abuse and neglect.
“One of our key priorities is strong, stable families,” he said. “Communities have a vital role ensuring children have positive experiences and families have the resources and support they need at the right time before they are in crisis.”
Throughout April, PCAND, HHS and local partners are using the metaphor of building blocks and construction as they promote local CAP month activities and events and reinforce the message that prevention cannot happen alone.
They encourage North Dakotans to help raise awareness and impact this April in the following ways:
- Wear blue on March 31, Wear Blue Day, to show support for children and families and help build momentum leading into Child Abuse Prevention Month. Post a photo or video on social media and include #WearBlueDay2023.
- Participate in local 2023 Child Abuse Prevention Month activities and events. Hosted by partner agencies across North Dakota, local activities include family day make and take events, book studies, educational presentations for families on stress and resilience, newborn care, safe sleep and more; family fun nights; cooking with kids class; community 3K/5K/walks and runs and more. Find a complete list of featured events on PCAND’s website.
- Participate in Prevent Child Abuse America’s nationwide Digital Advocacy Day on April 19 to advocate for increased investments for Title II, Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention grants of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act to provide states and communities the resources to implement community-based solutions to prevent child abuse and neglect.
- Follow PCAND on Facebook at Prevent Child Abuse North Dakota and share posts throughout April. Encourage friends and family to do the same. Use the hashtags #BuildingTogether, #PreventionInPartnership, and #CAPMonth to signify your commitment to helping children, families and entire communities to thrive.
- Plant a virtual pinwheel – the symbol of child abuse prevention – in your community through Pinwheels for Prevention®.
Reporting Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect
HHS reminds individuals that if they suspect a child in North Dakota is being abused or neglected, they should call the statewide toll-free Child Abuse & Neglect Reporting Line at 1-833-958-3500. If it’s an emergency and a child is in immediate danger, call 911.