April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

Col. Richard Ayres, 17th Training Wing commander (right), signs the National Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Proclamation in the lobby of the 17th Medical Group, while Karen Bartholomeo looks on. April is both the Month of the Military Child and National Child Abuse Prevention Month. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kamaile Chan)

Col. Richard Ayres, 17th Training Wing commander (right), signs the National Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Proclamation in the lobby of the 17th Medical Group, while Karen Bartholomeo looks on. April is both the Month of the Military Child and National Child Abuse Prevention Month. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kamaile Chan)

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Child Abuse Prevention Month began in June 1982 when the U.S. Congress formally recognized the magnitude of the problem of child abuse, prompting the President to issue a proclamation calling upon government agencies and citizens nationwide to participate in the observance.

The blue ribbon became a national symbol of child abuse awareness in 1989, when a grandmother took a stand against child abuse after experiencing the death of her grandson. In conjunction with the April 2007 observance of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, the Department of Defense is launching a Department-wide Shaken Baby Syndrome Prevention Program to provide parents with information about how to cope with the stress of an infant, especially a baby who won't stop crying.

The campaign has three components:

- An SBS toolkit developed by the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome mailed to installation Family Advocacy Programs, medical treatment facilities and National Guard state family programs. The toolkits contain a training curriculum designed for military fathers of infants, brochures and other educational resources. NOTE: A valid Common Access Card is required to access the toolkit materials online. If you are a first time visitor, you must register with MC&FP Program Support Group to gain access.

- Educational DVDs, including Portrait of Promise and Have a Plan, will be mailed to FAPs, MTFs and NG state family programs. Service providers using the Portrait of Promise DVD may access a sample script and parent commitment statement.

- A public service announcement airing on the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service throughout DOD. Military OneSource, available at no cost to active duty, Guard and Reserve (regardless of activation status) and their families, will soon feature infant crying and Shaken Baby Syndrome web resources. Telephone consultants are also available to support parents dealing with the stress of an infant at 1-800-342-9647.

We encourage you to familiarize yourself with the SBS Prevention Program resources and identify strategies for the most effective implementation at your installation. Collaboration with other individuals who work with parents will promote a coordinated system of support to new parents and help prevent SBS.

To easily access DOD Family Advocacy Program SBS resources, take note of this helpful link: www.militaryhomefront.dod.mil/service/fap/sbs