Although child abuse and its prevention have made
terrific strides in the last twenty years, increasing the need to ensure the
safety and welfare of children is essential as ever. Children in the United
States as well as worldwide are still vulnerable to abuse and neglect by their
caretakers. April is Child Abuse
Prevention Month helps us to remember the importance of making prevention
of abuse a priority in our legislation and fiscal constructs.
History of National
Child Abuse Prevention Month: In 1974, national concern led to the passage of the first Federal child
protection legislation, the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA).
While CAPTA has been amended many times over the years, most recently by the
Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003, the purpose of the original
legislation remains intact. Today, the Children's Bureau, Administration for
Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the
Federal agency charged with supporting States, Tribes, and communities in
providing programs and services to protect children and strengthen families.
In the early 1980s, Congress made a further commitment
to identifying and implementing solutions to child abuse. Recognizing the
alarming rate at which children continued to be abused and neglected and the
need for innovative programs to prevent child abuse and assist parents and
families affected by maltreatment, Congress resolved that the week of June
6-12, 1982, should be designated as the first National Child Abuse Prevention
Week. They asked the President to issue a proclamation calling on Government
agencies and the public to observe the week with appropriate programs,
ceremonies, and activities.
The following year, April was proclaimed the first
National Child Abuse PreventionMonth. Since then, child abuse and neglect
awareness activities have been promoted across the country during April of each
year. The Office on Child Abuse and Neglect (OCAN) within the Children's Bureau
coordinates Child Abuse Prevention Month, providing information and releasing
updated national statistics about child abuse and neglect each April. Several other countries have adopted April as
their month to declare the importance of child abuse prevention. Below is a link to the Presidential