EATONTOWN, NJ —Pinwheel Place along with Prevent Child Abuse America recognizes the importance of community-based support for all children and families during National Child Abuse Prevention (CAP) Month in April. The theme of this year’s awareness and impact campaign is “Growing a Better Tomorrow for All Children, Together.”
We can build healthier, safer, and thriving communities if we take the same approach to raising families that we do to tending a community garden on a shared piece of land. Too often, our society thinks of raising healthy children as a parent or caregiver’s responsibility alone. In reality, we all benefit when groups of people work together to collectively care for children, who grow up to become successful, contributing adults.
“Research shows that positive childhood experiences in nurturing environments provide fertile ground for physical and mental health, learning, and social skills,” explained Dr. Melissa Merrick, president and CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America. “By preventing child abuse and neglect we aim to holistically improve the lives of all families and the communities they live in.”
The risk to our nation’s children for experiencing child abuse and neglect in times of extreme stress and uncertainty is quite high. COVID-19 has added stressors to the lives of parents and caregivers, such as loss of employment, loss of income due to lack of paid leave, school and business closings that necessitate new childcare and homeschool arrangements, and food insecurity. We also know that these hardships disproportionately impact families of color. Although physical distancing alters the way families socially connect and interact with community services, we must ensure these supportive resources are still in place to help strengthen New Jersey’s families.
Pinwheel Place, New Jersey’s first crisis nursery, is one such support for our local families. They provide emergency child care for young children as well as respite care. Pinwheel Place strengthens families by caring for their children, connecting them to resources and providing basic needs such as diapers, clothes and baby items as many families are facing financial difficulties.
This year Pinwheel Place reached out to many local townships to ask them to proclaim April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. At their town council meetings Eatontown, Rumson, Middletown and Freehold all proclaimed children have a right to be safe and an opportunity to thrive, learn, and grow in an environment that fosters healthy development.
We all share a responsibility for the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of children and their families. Pinwheel Place encourages everyone in New Jersey to help strengthen families in their community this April and throughout the year.