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Resources for National Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, which recognizes the importance of communities working together to help families thrive and prevent child maltreatment. During the month of April and throughout the year, communities are encouraged to increase awareness about child and family well-being, and work together to implement effective strategies that support families and prevent child abuse and neglect. This year's theme is Thriving Children and Families: Prevention With Purpose. There are many ways your library can participate to raise awareness of this critical issue in your community; here's a look at some opportunities.


Resources from Illuminate Colorado

Illuminate Colorado is a nonprofit that leverages resources and increases capacity to more effectively prevent child maltreatment strengthen families, organizations and communities to prevent child maltreatment; it provides many resources and opportunities for your library to raise awareness about child abuse prevention.
Order Pinwheels for Prevention for your library
Planting a pinwheel represents the bright childhoods we all want for children. Illuminate Colorado is giving away 40,000 FREE Pinwheels for Prevention® to inspire ​Coloradans to grow a better tomorrow for all children, together. Visit to get up to 100 FREE pinwheels for your library's yard, neighborhood or community (plus, the website offers so many tools for how communities can work together to prevent child abuse)! ​Every day, you can plant seeds for all children to grow up happy and healthy. Follow the #GrowingBetterTogether to connect to the movement in your community.
Take and promote trainings from Illuminate Colorado

Illuminate Colorado provides free virtual trainings to professionals and anyone in the community interested in learning more to strengthen families, organizations and communities in Colorado. Training includes sessions on preventing child sexual abuse and on strengthening families. I recently took the excellent Stewards of Children training, an evidence-informed, award-winning two-hour training that teaches adults to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. Visit Illuminate Colorado to learn more, sign up, and promote the trainings in your community.

Make a difference in your community

Illuminate Colorado offers a list of "50 Ways to Make a Difference" to prevent child abuse and strengthen families; while some are geared for individuals or families, others are very appropriate for libraries to do.


Programming Ideas

These activities align with the 5 protective factors that Strengthening Families™ has identified that have been shown to reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect. These activities are great to provide year-round, not just during April!


Build Parental Resilience. Help parents learn healthy coping skills and strategies to manage stress and function well when faced with challenges, adversity and trauma--like a global pandemic and so many other challenges. 

Programming ideas:

  • Partner with a local agency to offer classes on managing stress, in person and/or virtually.

  • Provide a dial-a-meditation program, like the Jefferson County Public Library: "Practicing meditation is only a phone call away. Each Wednesday morning, Jefferson County Public Library (JCPL) brings guided meditation to Jeffco through a call-in program that supports a growing demand for healthy lifestyle practices."

  • Provide yoga for relaxation and meditation classes, in person and/or virtually.

  • Host journaling programs, with a creative DIY journal craft activity, in person and/or virtually.

  • Circulate kits for well-being and stress reduction, such as those offered by the Longmont Public Library: "The goal of our Well-being Bags is to help you lead a healthier, happier, better-all-around life. Each bag has all you'll need to dive deeper into a favorite subject -- DVD movies, music CDs, books and reference articles, and other interesting items, like puzzles, games, or fun challenges."

  • Distribute take and make kits that encourage healthy family relationships and stress management, like these from the Decatur Public Library: 
    This April, develop healthy relationships with your family and practice self-care by participating in our free take home activity bags. Each bag will include a weekly activity that focuses on an aspect of family relationships, as well as a month-long activity challenge. In partnership with Wise Coalition for Healthy Children.

-Week 1 | April 1st - Parent Self-Care + Month Long Activity Challenge Sheet
-Week 2 | April 8th - Dinner Conversation
-Week 3 | April 15th - Family Game Night
-Week 4 | April 22nd - Gardening for Self-Care
-Week 5 | April 29th - Scavenger Hunt

Build Social Connections. Positive relationships can provide emotional, informational, and spiritual support that can help keep families strong.

Programming ideas:

  • Offer programs that help families build communities and connect with each other

    • In person, this could include playgroup times at the library and periods for social connections after storytimes. Also, let area formal and informal parent groups know that your library meeting room is available for parent and family meetups.

    • Remotely, this could include virtual informal parent meetups and organizing community "bear hunts" in which community members place stuffed animals in their windows to form a neighborhood scavenger hunt.

Build Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development. Understanding child development and parenting strategies that support physical, cognitive, language, social and emotional development is critical to helping children reach their full potential.  

Programming ideas:

  • Create a display of library resources that includes books on child development and parenting topics, and provide parent collection sections in both the adult and children's areas.

  • Provide positive parenting classes in person and/or virtually. When in person, provide simultaneous children's programs so that parents can more easily participate.

Build Concrete Support in Times of Need. When families are connected and have access to concrete supports in their community that help minimize stress caused by challenges, the foundation for families and communities to thrive is strengthened. ​  

Programming ideas:

  • Review your library policies to ensure they'll assist and be empathetic for families that may be in crisis (such as what to do when a child is left at the library after hours or when to let someone use the phone).

  • Have referral information at the ready (in printed flyers or bookmarks, as well as a readily available list at the desks in the children's and adult areas) for city and county agencies and nonprofits that provide relevant family supports.

  • Provide "tough topics" bookmarks for adults that provide the Dewey ranges for difficult topics (child abuse, addiction, depression, etc) on one side and contact information for relevant local agencies on the other.

  • Partner with local organizations to provide an on-site family support center, such as this example at the Broomfield Public Library: "The Broomfield Library is partnering with A Precious Child to provide a Satellite Resource Center to meet basic human needs and to help families navigate community resources. Visit the Children's Library and talk with a library staff person to get connected to the services offered through A Precious Child."

Build Social and Emotional Competence of Children. Family and child interactions help children build the ability to communicate clearly, recognize and regulate their emotions and establish and maintain relationships well into adulthood.

Programming ideas:

  • Embed activities that will raise social-emotional awareness during library programs and offer storytimes that explore different emotions. 

  • Have displays of picture books that explore different emotions.

  • Circulate kits on the theme of emotions or positive relationships to include a few relevant titles, a stuffed animal friend, and music CD or manipulative. 

  • Create a StoryWalk featuring a picture book that explores different emotions.

  • Host a "Keep Me Safe Storytime" program.

  • An excellent example of this and several of the above recommendations is this program offered by the Eagle Valley Library District: "Donuts, Hugs and Bilingual Storytimes. Join us as we celebrate the Month of the Young Child with bilingual storytimes and donuts for the whole family! Come learn about early childhood development, child abuse prevention and resources in our community. This program is in collaboration with Eagle County Human Services."

Staff Training

Staff training is an important part of serving all children, parents, and caregivers, of course. Some specific training beneficial to this topic includes: