April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

DES MOINES — Advocates for the well-being of kids in Iowa are working to boost awareness, as April is Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Allie Moerman, is the spokeswoman for Prevent Child Abuse Iowa. Following the starvation deaths of two teen girls in Perry and West Des Moines in recent years, Moerman says the number of child abuse cases being reported to the state has risen. “Without looking at the long-term trends, it’s hard to say what that means,” Moerman says. “We know that those high-profile cases that we saw in 2016 with Sabrina Ray and Natalie Finn does make a difference in the public awareness about child abuse so that often contributes to the increase that we see and report.”

Moerman says Iowans can work together to help reduce the number of child abuse cases by getting involved in the activities of children and building stronger connections with the kids in our lives. “Maybe it’s something as simple as volunteering to read to a class of elementary students,” Moerman says. “Maybe it’s reaching out to new parents in your community to bring over a meal or helping them out by running an errand or volunteering to get involved with youth activities just to be a positive influence in the lives of children.”

Moerman says the annual Child Abuse Prevention and Family Support Conference will be held in Ankeny next month. “We’ve actually sold out this year,” Moerman says. “We’ve got a full house of support workers and social workers from around the state coming in to learn from nationally-recognized speakers, statewide speakers. It should be a great opportunity to learn and share and network and build those connections throughout our state.”

Learn more about child abuse prevention and how you can play a role at www.pcaiowa.org.