OKLAHOMA CITY -- April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. During this time, the nation is reminded that far too many children live in abusive environments. An estimated 695,000 children were victims of child abuse and neglect in the United States in 2010. In Oklahoma, more than 7,300 cases of child abuse were confirmed in 2011.
Nothing is more important than keeping children safe. If you think a child is being abused or neglected, call the OKDHS Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-522-3511. If you think a child is in danger right now, call 9-1-1.
Tough economic times can be a factor in child abuse. Something as simple as buying diapers can stress a family budget to the breaking point and create added frustration in a household. One in three American moms struggle to buy diapers for their babies. Diapers and wipes can cost up to $100 a month and that cost is not covered by SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program, formerly food stamps) or by WIC (aid to Women, Infants and Children).
During Child Abuse Prevention Month, OKDHS staff are conducting a diaper drive for Oklahoma families in need. The general public is invited to drop-off diaper donations at the Sequoyah Building, 2400 N. Lincoln Blvd. in Oklahoma City. Donations will be accepted weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The diapers will be distributed to clients statewide by the OKDHS Office of Volunteerism.
It is critical to remember the basics when it comes to preventing child abuse:
- If you're frustrated because a baby or young child won't stop crying, STOP! and take a "time-out" for yourself
- Never shake a baby - shaking can result in severe injury or death
- Child abuse is not just physical - neglect and emotional abuse are just as damaging
To learn more about how you can help break the cycle of child abuse, visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website at ChildWelfare.gov/Preventing ( link opens in new window ).