April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month: Strengthen Families and Prevent Child Abuse

April 1, 2024
For immediate release
Media contact: Cara Scarola Hansen
Center for Child Counseling Public Relations Counsel

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month
Strengthen Families and Prevent Child Abuse

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. This initiative is rooted in communities working  together to serve children and their families in meaningful, impactful ways that provide families with the support they need, especially during challenging times. 

According to the latest national data, an estimated 1,990 children died from abuse and neglect in the United States in 2022. Approximately 3.1 million children across the country received  either an investigation or an alternative response by child protective services, and 558,899 children were found to be victims of child maltreatment. 

Local nonprofit Center for Child Counseling supports thousands of children each year in preventing and healing the effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and trauma. In 2023, 80% of the Center’s clients reported having at least one ACE and 34% of clients had four or more ACEs. Adults with four or more ACEs: have a 1200% increased risk of suicide; are two times more likely to smoke, develop heart disease, or cancer; are seven times more likely to abuse alcohol. Early intervention is imperative because childhood trauma is not something a child simply outgrows; it must be addressed with positive factors such as buffering relationships, resiliency building experiences, and positive community environments.

This month and throughout the year, Center for Child Counseling encourages all individuals and organizations to play a role in making Palm Beach County a better place for children and families. Positive childhood experiences (PCEs) can significantly mitigate the impact of ACEs and childhood trauma. By ensuring that parents have the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to care for their children, we can help promote the social and emotional well-being of children and youth and prevent child maltreatment within families and communities.  

Last year, 92% of the Center’s clients reported cultivating eight or more protective factors. Protective factors are the strengths and resources families draw on during difficult times to shield them from life’s stresses. Research shows that when parents possess protective factors, the risk for neglect and abuse diminish and optimal outcomes for children, youth, and families are promoted. Major protective factors include knowledge of parenting, knowledge of child  development, parental resilience, social connections, and concrete supports.  

“Preventing child abuse necessitates reframing childhood adversity as a public issue, a preventable issue, and a solvable issue. It beckons us to recognize that we all have a stake in the well-being of our children–that their future is our collective responsibility. To make it a public issue is to underscore that child abuse knows no boundaries, affecting families from all walks of life. It demands that we advocate for policies that foster family well-being–policies that ensure access to good jobs, safe neighborhoods, consistent healthcare, and quality education for every family,” stated Renée Layman, CEO of Center for Child Counseling.

The Center provides a safe space for children and families to receive counseling and support for mental health concerns. The organization also has six clinical programs, developed to fill critical gaps in Palm Beach County’s system of care, and is recognized as South Florida’s premier organization tackling the impact of ACEs and childhood trauma. Using a public health framework, the Center mitigates mental health concerns through prevention and early intervention–including providing education around the state, nation, and world about ACEs.

For more information about child abuse prevention programs and resources, visit centerforchildcounseling.org.

Interview availability:
Renée Layman, LMHC, Chief Executive Officer of Center for Child Counseling


About Center for Child Counseling
Center for Child Counseling has been building the foundation for playful, healthful, and hopeful living for children and families in Palm Beach County since 1999. Its services focus on preventing and healing the effects of adverse experiences and toxic stress on children, promoting resiliency and healthy family, school, and community relationships. www.centerforchildcounseling.org Twitter: @ChildCounselPBC Facebook: @CenterforChildCounseling Instagram: @childcounselpbc


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