April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month (CAPM), a month recognized as a time for communities to join together to promote healthy children and families and end child abuse. Since CALICO’s inception, it has used CAPM to highlight child abuse in Alameda County. However, the federal focus on child abuse prevention is relatively recent.
The first federal act to protect children, today referred to as the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), was signed into law in 1974. The act was created in response to growing public recognition of the need to address child abuse and neglect and ensure the safety of children. CAPTA provided federal assistance to states for programs that addressed prevention, identification, and treatment of child abuse. It also established the Office on Child Abuse and Neglect (OCAN) to coordinate all federal CAPTA activities. For the past 40 years, CAPTA has continued to define minimum standards for child maltreatment and support state programs for child abuse prevention and intervention.
In the early 1980s, the federal government made further strides to highlight the issue of child safety. In 1982, Congress declared June 6-12 as National Child Abuse Prevention Week. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan extended the efforts and proclaimed April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month. In the following years, the OCAN led the efforts to promote CAPM, providing informational materials including a series of articles entitled, “Perspectives on Child Abuse in the mid-1980s,” buttons and bumper stickers, and public service announcements urging parents to “Take a time out. Don’t take it out on your kid.”
The Blue Ribbon Campaign, now so closely associated with Child Abuse Prevention Month, began in 1989 when Bonny Finney, a grandmother from Virginia, tied a ribbon to the antenna of her car in memory of her 3-year-old grandson who was a victim of abuse. By the following year, the state of Virginia formally recognized the blue ribbon as the symbol for child abuse prevention. Since then, the blue ribbon has become a national symbol for child abuse prevention and is often worn in April to remind people to join together in a campaign against abuse.
For CALICO, Child Abuse Prevention Month provides the perfect opportunity to spotlight the innovative work being done in Alameda County to prevent and respond to child abuse. We also take this time to recognize our many partners who have joined us in the effort to keep children safe. Every year, we hold a luncheon to thank our partners for their hard work and dedication to the children and families of Alameda County. Follow our Facebook page to see pictures from our Partner Appreciation Luncheon and learn more about our activities in Child Abuse Prevention Month.