Childhood abuse and neglect is an issue that affects many families and can have an adverse impact on communities. Children who experience the trauma of child abuse struggle to thrive and may be at risk for chronic health conditions, unsafe behaviors, low life potential and early death. However, the risk of adverse outcomes for children is mitigated by several protective factors that help strengthen families. These factors include:

  • Parental Resilience – managing stress and functioning well when faced with challenges, adversity and trauma.
  • Social Connections – positive relationships that provide emotional, informational, instrumental and spiritual support.
  • Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development – understanding child development and parenting strategies that support physical, cognitive, language, social and emotional development.
  • Concrete Support in Times of Need – access to support services that address a family’s need and helps minimize stress caused by challenges.
  • Social and Emotional Competence of Children – help children develop the ability to communicate clearly, recognize and regulate their emotions, and stabilize and maintain relationships.

Libraries can play a role in combating childhood abuse and neglect in their communities by helping families build protective factors. This handout on libraries and prevention offers suggestions on how your library can help support families and prevent child abuse.

April is Childhood Abuse Prevention Month, and ICfL has partnered with Idaho Children’s Trust Fund to offer support for libraries that are interested in combating childhood abuse and neglect in their communities. You can help spread awareness and promote Prevention Month by participating in this year’s social media campaign. Here’s how it works:

  • Paint your thumbnail blue
  • Take a picture giving a “thumbs up”
  • Share on social media using the hashtags: #ThumbsUpIdaho and #StandupforchildrenIdaho

You can also participate in Prevention Month by hosting pinwheels at your location. Every April, people throughout Idaho display pinwheels to symbolize the happy and healthy childhood we want for all children. ICfL has purchased pinwheels for libraries to display in and outside of their buildings. If you would like a set of pinwheels for your library, contact Jennifer by March 26.

Another resource to offer your community is The Brain Architecture Game. The Brain Architecture Game is a tabletop game the helps players understand the role of early experiences in the development of a child’s brain. This is a great tool for staff development or a training opportunity that libraries can offer to local organizations, school districts, childcare centers, etc. ICfL has funds to purchase nine Brain Architecture Game kits for libraries throughout the state. The kits can be used to facilitate a gaming experience for up to 18 players, and the Idaho Children’s Trust Fund can offer regional trainers to train staff on using the kits or facilitate programs in the library. Kits are already being sent to some libraries, and we have started a waiting list in the hopes of being able to purchase additional kits later in the year. Contact Jennifer if your library would like to receive a Brain Architecture Game.