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Preventing Child Abuse by Building Stronger Families

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Building stronger families is a core message being stressed in Wisconsin as part of child-abuse prevention efforts.

Those doing outreach said many parents are navigating tough situations right now, and helping them find stability can't be overlooked.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Rebecca Murray, executive director of the Wisconsin Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board, said there's been added pressure from the pandemic, but families have the ability to steer themselves away from conflict.

For parents, that means taking steps to become resilient.

"Really managing your own feelings, thinking about how to problem-solve with a clear head, taking time for yourself, and really thinking about buffering your kids from all of that stress," Murray outlined.

She added asking for help is another way to build strength, especially in learning new parenting methods as your kids grow.

This month, the board is bolstering its work with community groups, such as family resource centers, and on getting educational tools to parents.

At the community level, Murray explained networks of faith groups and nonprofits can play a key role in prevention as well, even if it's not their core function.

She noted in areas around the state, the resources are there, it just takes a little more collaboration.

"Sometimes, it's taking that concerted effort of getting people together, and really understanding that even though you may not see your core or your main mission of preventing child abuse, you're within primary prevention because you're out there strengthening families," Murray contended.

Murray emphasized the awareness month also should be used to reach out to caregivers, and not just biological parents. She pointed out more grandparents have taken an active role in providing consistent care for their grandchildren.

Mike Moen is the Morning Edition producer and serves as a staff reporter for WNIJ. Every morning, he works with Dan Klefstad to bring listeners the latest Illinois news. He also works with the rest of the news staff on developing and producing in-depth stories. Mike is a Minnesota native who likes movies, history, and baseball. When most people hear his last name, they assume he is 100-percent Scandinavian. But, believe it or not, he is mostly German.
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