April is here and we are all eagerly anticipating warmer temperatures, blooming flowers and sun filled days. Along with winter’s departure and the rebirth of spring, April is also designated as Child Abuse Awareness Month.  During the month of April, Army Community Service, Family Advocacy Program highlights child abuse prevention efforts by partnering with other agencies to provide the community with education about how to care for our children and how to get involved.

Scott Chase, FAP Child Advocate for Fort Bragg, works with active duty, Family members and civilians on issues ranging from parenting questions to how to report child abuse and neglect.

“Child maltreatment is so pervasive in our society, that every one of us has been touched by it in some way.  Child Abuse Awareness Month is a time to stop and reflect on what is going on all around us,” said Chase.

Acknowledging that child abuse is happening in our community, perhaps even next door, is a first step in prevention.  Learning to recognize the signs of abuse is a good second step.  However, having the courage to report abuse is the only way to ensure that a child receives the help they so desperately need.

“Child Abuse Awareness Month activities provide vital information on how to become more aware of the signs of abuse and the steps you can take to stop it, or prevent it from happening in the first place,” Chase added.

While there are many events occurring during the month, one of main interest to parents is the Scream Free Parenting workshop held on April 17, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Watters Family Life Center.  This workshop, in partnership with chaplains at the Watters Family Life Center, is presented by the Scream Free Institute.  Food will be served starting at 5:30 p.m., courtesy of the chaplains. The workshop begins at 6 p.m.  The goal of the workshop is to show parents how to remain calm, cool and connected while dealing with their children.  It helps parents understand how remaining calm can help them parent their children more effectively and make their home the peaceful refuge they want it to be.  Anyone interested in attending call to register for this workshop.

For information on the other community events, please visit www.fortbraggmwr.com/acs/family-advocacy/ or Facebook page www.facebook.com/#!/fortbraggfap.

Those interested in registering for parenting classes or events occurring during the month of April, please call 396-5521. Free, limited childcare for all classes is available.

If you suspect abuse, please call the Fort Bragg reporting point of contact at 396-0391/0392 or call your local Child Protective Services Agency.

Remember that it is everyone’s responsibility to make sure the kids in our community are safe.