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April is child abuse prevention month

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Since 1983, the month of April has been dedicated to the prevention of child abuse and neglect through the observation of National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Each year the goal is to raise awareness among parents and members of the community in hopes of preventing cases of abuse and neglect.

Military families are less likely than civilian families to be impacted by unemployment, poverty, drug abuse, and limited access to healthcare. On the other hand, they are more likely to face unique risk factors like intermittent single parenting due to military operations, frequent moves, and separation from extended family. The largest percentages of child abuse among military families are child neglect related to lack of supervision, or exposure to physical hazards.

Child abuse does happen in the Air Force community. From Jan. 1, 2013 -- March 11, 2014, 17 cases of child abuse/neglect were taken to Osan Air Base's Central Registry Board, 450 cases were taken to Central Registry Boards in Pacific Air Forces, and 4,273 were taken to Central Registry Boards Air Force-wide.

Within the military community, the Family Advocacy Program works to strengthen military families and improve resiliency and competency among parents by offering home visitation for new parents as well as support and education on topics of interest to all parents. The Administration of Children and Families and the Family Advocacy Program embrace the protective factors approach to building strong resilient families and promoting the healthy development of all children.

The six protective factors include: parental resilience, social connections, concrete support in times of need, knowledge of parenting, child development, social and emotional competence of children, nurturing, and attachment. Family Advocacy provides various classes and services to meet the aforementioned goals, such as parenting classes, communication classes and communication counseling. Also, other on-base support agencies are available to people who wish to improve their parenting skills. These agencies include the Military & Family Life Counselors and the base chaplains.

Resources are available on Osan AB for individuals interested in becoming better parents and caregivers of children. They can contact Family Advocacy at 784-5010, the MFLC's at 784-5440, or the Base Chapel 784-5000 for more information.

(Information for this article was obtained from the Military Community & Family Policy Fact Sheet and from the Family Advocacy System of Records.)