April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

Oakton, Va., March 31, 2005—Frustration and lack of experience can sometimes lead to child abuse among first-time parents. Programs like Healthy Families, administered by Northern Virginia Family Service (NVFS), prevent child abuse by teaching positive parenting skills and encouraging child health and development. In acknowledgement of Child Abuse Prevention Month, NVFS is devoted to creating awareness of programs that exist to help families make valuable changes.

“NVFS believes that families are the foundation of a strong community. We also realize that families sometimes face issues that prevent them from being healthy. It is for this reason that our programs, such as Healthy Families, teach and empower people to improve their lives—not just during the month of April, but all year long,“ said NVFS President and CEO Mary Agee.

Prevent Child Abuse Virginia, a private, nonprofit organization, coordinates a statewide program called Healthy Families Virginia, which is a system of support for new parents. NVFS operates Healthy Families programs that serve the counties of Fairfax, Prince William and Arlington, and the cities of Manassas, Manassas Park and Alexandria. NVFS’ Healthy Families programs support new parents and their young children during a child’s most rapid and significant phase of development.

According to Prevent Child Abuse Virginia, prevention is the only sure cure for child abuse and neglect. Through family education and support programs, the vicious and tragic cycle of abuse can be stopped. The plan for prevention includes:

  • Helping parents learn to raise and nurture their children without physical or emotional violence. This can be done through support groups and parenting programs and through public awareness campaigns.
  • Organizing and supporting early intervention programs like Healthy Families Virginia, that provide continuous support to families from the birth of a child through age five.
  • Training teachers, day care workers, doctors and other professionals about how to prevent abuse and how to recognize and treat abuse when it does occur.
  • Supporting laws and programs that protect children from the pain of abuse.