WATERBURY >> April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Vermont Agency of Human Services Secretary Hal Cohen and Department for Children and Families Commissioner Ken Schatz would like to take this opportunity to thank the countless individuals, agencies, and organizations across the state who do their part to make our communities better, safer places for children and families.
"Preventing child abuse and protecting children is a shared responsibility," said Secretary Cohen. "It is not something that any one agency, department, or person can do alone. It takes the dedication and collaboration of all of us — parents, child welfare professionals, communities, educators, law enforcement, health care professionals and others — to make sure children and youth are safe and families are supported. Everyone's participation is crucial."
Certain people in Vermont, called mandated reporters, are legally required to report suspected child abuse and neglect. They play a critical role in the child protection system. To help them recognize abuse and make reports as required by law, the Department for Children and Families (DCF) and KidSafe Collaborative created an interactive, online training called Protecting Vermont's Children: Reporting Abuse and Neglect. DCF Commissioner Ken Schatz and KidSafe Executive Director Sally Borden announced the training at a State House event on April 5.
"The new training is available at no cost to the thousands of professionals across the state who are required by Vermont law to report suspected maltreatment," said Sally Borden. "This includes teachers, social workers, camp counselors, childcare workers, and many others. The training is also free for the general public — because everyone can help keep kids and teens safe from harm."
"We are so grateful to KidSafe for their outstanding collaboration on this important training," said Commissioner Schatz. "Over two-thirds of all reports made to our Child Protection Line are made by mandated reporters. They are key to our ongoing efforts to keep children safe."
"One of the most important things we can all do to prevent child abuse and promote healthy child development is to help make sure parents and other caregivers have the knowledge, skills and resources they need to care for children appropriately," said Schatz. "There are things we can all do, from offering to care for a child while the parents get a break, to helping a family with transportation issues, to offering parenting workshops, to connecting parents with needed resources."
Helpful Resources for Parents & Family Members
Visit protectkids.vt.gov to:
• Educate yourself about things you can do to prevent child abuse
• Read about protective factors that can help keep children safe
• Find resources that can help you care for your family
Helpful Resources for Mandated Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect
Visit mandatedreporters.vt.gov to:
• Connect to new, online mandated reporter training
• Get the latest information on reporting
• Sign up to get email updates on child protection issues
Helpful Resources for Child and Family-Serving Organizations
• Find resources you can use in your work with children and families
• Learn more about protective factors that can help keep children safe