October is recognized by Children’s Aid Societies across the province as Child Abuse Prevention Month. The message being conveyed is that each of us can play a vital role in speaking up for kids in order to keep them safe and well-cared for. Last year over 171,000 Ontarians reached out to Children’s Aid with concerns about the safety of a child, an indication that the community safety net is working. But leading child welfare researchers say there needs to be more education about what making a referral to Children’s Aid means, because many people feel guilty after they make that call. This may be due to some public misconceptions about what child welfare services do.
People may be surprised to learn that in 2013, children remained with their families in 97% of all CAS investigations.* This focus on in-home, early intervention services is part of the transformation of the Ontario child welfare system that started a decade ago. This approach is based on the recognition that early intervention can reduce the need for more intrusive services later, and that children flourish in a caring family setting. Early intervention services offered by Children’s Aid can include counselling, parenting programs and substance abuse treatment.
Our hope is that every young person is able to grow up in surroundings free of abuse or neglect. Unfortunately, this is not always the reality of the situation. With an increased focus on working with families earlier, in the vast majority of cases children are able to remain at home while Children’s Aid Societies work with families to strengthen their parenting capacity and create a more stable future for their children.
Child Abuse Prevention Month is marked by the purple ribbon campaign. In Eastern Ontario, the public is encouraged to help create awareness by wearing purple on October 16th, Community Wear Purple Day or by wearing a purple ribbon during the month of October.
In Hastings, Northumberland and Prince Edward Counties community members can show their support of the campaign by attending a “Go Purple” hockey game being held in Campbellford, Cobourg, Prince Edward County, Port Hope and Quinte West.
The call you make to Children’s Aid could be the most important in a child’s life. This video explains how you can help: https://youtu.be/n0Db3xLwuWw