April Is Child Abuse Prevention Month

The Child Abuse Awareness campaign began in the early 1980s when Congress made a commitment to identify and implement solutions to end child abuse. Initially, the week of June 6-12, 1982, was designated by Congress as the first National Child Abuse Prevention Week. The following year, on April 4, 1983, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

[Read Proclamation 5039, National Child Abuse Prevention Month 1983, by President Ronald Reagan at www.reagan.utexas.edu/archives/speeches/1983/40483c.htm]

The Blue Ribbon Campaign to Prevent Child Abuse began in 1989 as a Virginia grandmother’s tribute to her grandson who died as a result of abuse. She tied a blue ribbon to the antenna of her car as a way to remember him and to alert her community to the tragedy of child abuse. The Blue Ribbon Campaign since has spread across the country.

Now throughout April child abuse and neglect awareness activities are promoted across the country. The Office on Child Abuse and Neglect coordinates activities at the federal level, providing information and releasing updated national statistics about child abuse and neglect. On the state level, governors issue proclamations to encourage local initiatives and events. In Tennessee, Gov. Bill Haslam is slated to proclaim Child Abuse Awareness month at the beginning of April.

The 2013 awareness campaign is particularly significant in that it marks the 30th anniversary of the first National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

— Katrina Atchley Arbogast, YLD Children’s Issues Committee chair