As adoptive parents, we are our child’s teacher, but not their only teachers. Birth family‘s, relatives, and one or more foster homes, our children have usually had several teachers along the way. Even after we become their parents we aren’t their only teacher, our children have childcare providers, schoolteachers, doctors, neighbors, coaches, and grandparents who all influence our children. The quality and stability of a young child’s relationships affect every aspect of their development. All the people our child has met will have affected our child’s learning and influenced long-term development.
A child with secure relationships and a safe, nurturing environment will become a confident, caring adult, ready to be a part of society. If surrounded by violence or abuse or neglect, it will be much more difficult for the child to grow up successfully. As adoptive parents of foster children and members of our own communities, we should each ask ourselves: Are we providing the kind of environments that will allow children to grow up in safe, loving homes in the first place?
My main mission in life is to advocate for the children in the foster care system. I believe this includes the prevention of a children needing foster care in the first place. For me it’s a personal responsibility to invest my efforts on prevention of child abuse and neglect in the first place and advocate for the adoption of waiting children. I would like to see a day when there are no children needing adoptive families. That’s where community support for preventions comes into the picture.
Some communities are working to prevent problems before they start by developing neighborhood ties that can bring people together. To help communities and families prevent child abuse and neglect, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Children’s Bureau, Office on Child Abuse and Neglect, and its National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information updated their resource packet of prevention materials. The packet includes fact sheets in English and Spanish on a variety of topics:
- How organizations can build on strengths and share the message of family support.
- How individuals can build healthy families, including tips for being a nurturing parent.
- The scope and impact of child abuse and neglect.
The prevention packet also includes a poster in Spanish and English, and a variety of materials that can be used for media events and community awareness activities. The packet was developed in partnership with 28 national organizations, including Prevent Child Abuse America and the FRIENDS National Resource Center for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention. It is available on the Prevention website
Children do well when their parents do well. And parents do better when they live in communities that actively support families. As foster and adoptive parents, we can play a positive part. For more Tips and Ideas about ways you might help in your community visit the National Clearinghouse On Child Abuse And Neglect Informations Website.