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FEATURE

April's protectors of children





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April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time to show support for abused children (every month should be that) and to raise awareness about the groups working to save their lives.

In support of children, the government has put together a new website, the Child Welfare Information Gateway, to provide coordinated resources and education:

Formerly the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information and the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse, Child Welfare Information Gateway provides access to information and resources to help protect children and strengthen families. A service of the Children's Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The American Humane Society is another very important resource, long associated with the protection of animals, the society has a history of rescuing children from abusive situations:
American Humane has a long and established history [1877] of protecting children from abuse and neglect. We support the development and implementation of effective community, state, tribal, and national systems to protect children and strengthen families. Through consultation, training, research and evaluation, advocacy, and information dissemination, American Humane continues its legacy of child protection.
American Humane's work in child abuse prevention and support is vital, not only because of the work they do, but because of their efforts to steer the government to provide more consistency in their own practices. As was reported in this 2002 article from the Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago, entitled Child abuse and neglect:
Over the past 30 years, the political response to child maltreatment and its prevention in the US has experienced periods of frantic activity, often followed by long periods of benign neglect. In reflecting on this history, Dick Krugman has referred to this uneven level of attention as a series of "waves" in which apparent progress is often minimized by an inability to sustain political commitment to a given reform or course of action.

To an extent, this pattern reflects deep differences among child welfare advocates, researchers, and practitioners on how best to proceed. While most everyone agrees that "it shouldn't hurt to be a child," how to prevent this hurt and at what cost is less clear. To address this dilemma, prevention advocates, researchers, and practitioners have struggled with a variety of conceptual frameworks and programmatic reforms...

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