April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. In most states, child care providers are mandated reporters and have been trained to recognize signs that a child is experiencing abuse and respond appropriately. However, child care providers can also play a role in preventing child abuse before it begins. Stress and lack of parenting skills can increase the risk for abuse. As child care providers, you are an important part of families’ support systems and can encourage and educate parents. Here are four ways you can support parents and prevent child abuse.
COVID-19 has sent many of us on a winding road of change and unprecedented challenges. As we now have three vaccines for the virus and the number of cases is starting to go down, many communities are starting to open up and return to a more “Pre-COVID-19” life. For many families, this means children returning to child care after having been away from the setting for a year or even longer.
Each time parents or caregivers spend time reading books with children, the neural pathways in their brains are strengthened. In a recent blog, Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA) celebrated National Reading Month and shared ideas for engaging families to promote the importance of reading with children to ensure continued learning and support early brain development. To expand on this conversation and encourage reading with children every day throughout the year, CCAoA is excited to share stories from child care resource and referral agencies(CCR&Rs) who have engaged families around reading through innovative tools and community partnerships and from national programs that have created science-based tools to empower and support families.
Families put a lot of trust in child care providers every day. Part of that trust is knowing that children will be safe and cared for in any situation, including during and after an emergency. Child care providers who plan ahead are better-prepared and will know what to do to respond to an emergency and keep the children in their care safe. By planning and preparing in advance, they are also able to recover faster after an emergency.
Child care is not only crucial for the development of young children, but also essential for the millions of working parents with young children. Parents rely on child care to help them enter, re-enter or remain in the workforce, but access to affordable, quality child care is often a significant barrier for many. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, families are experiencing additional challenges in finding, maintaining and affording child care that meets their needs.