Blue Ribbon “Child Abuse Prevention”
A More Mindful Community
Children in families that are struggling or facing stressful times are at an increased risk of experiencing abuse and neglect. As a member of the community we have a role to play in promoting the factors that build a strong, healthy family, and identifying the red flags and warning signs that increase the risk of abuse and neglect.
Strong, Healthy Families
The Protective Factors
- Actively a part of a community, faith community, or supportive group
- Supportive and reliable family & friends
- Positive and nurturing relationships
Concrete Support In Times of Need:
- Connected to and aware of community resources
- Having enough money to meet basic needs
- Managing stress in a healthy manner
- Seeking help effectively
- Solving general life problems
Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development:
- Age appropriate expectations of children
- Meeting the needs of special needs children
- Nurturing parenting
- Positive and trusting relationships
Social and Emotional Competence of a Child:
- Appropriate and healthy expression of emotions
- Healthy behavior
- Interacts positively with others
The Warning Signs
The following warning signs indicate a family that may be in need of support and resources to help them through struggles.
High family stress, conflict, and displays of anger:
Poor impulse control, short fuse, shutdown or withdrawn, depressed, insecure
Visible difficulty parenting:
Inability to soothe child, lack of supervision, odd or extreme parenting ideas, risky caregivers, poor understanding or “normal” behavior, punishment vs. discipline, unrealistic expectations of child.
Many needs and few resources:
Health problems, money problems, recent changes and/or losses, child with special needs, substance abuse including alcohol and prescription drugs, unemployment, unsafe or unstable housing.
Challenging family circumstances:
Blended family, children under the age of two, divorce or separation, high number of people in the home, history of abuse, history of violence, parent in jail.
The following signs could be evidence of child abuse and neglect.
Ongoing signs of abuse:
- Someone, including the child, tells you the child has been abused.
- Suspicious marks, cuts, injuries, or bruises
- Other violence in the home
Ongoing signs of neglect:
- Poor hygiene
- Hoarding food
- Noticeable tooth decay
- Chronic lice
- Significant weight changes
If you suspect child abuse and/or neglect please contact the Child Abuse Hotline at (714) 940-1000 or (800) 207-4464, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Story of the Blue Ribbon
The Blue Ribbon Child Abuse Prevention Campaign had its early beginnings following the death of a very young child. In 1989, Virginia grandmother, Bonnie Finney, received devastating news. In her own words:
“Tell me it isn’t true. It simply can’t be true…Michael can’t be dead…they are wrong…there must be some mistake…Michael is fine. But deep in my heart, I knew it was true for I had not seen him in weeks. It’s been so long since I sat by his side in the hospital. Of course I knew something was wrong as I sat there. I saw fear on his face, the bruises on his body…. his doctor didn’t believe my daughter’s story….he fell in the slippery bathtub water….I felt sick….I didn’t understand…I wondered if my other grandchildren were okay.”
“After the ordeal at the hospital, my grandson was placed into foster care for three weeks. I ached for his dilemma and I was not physically able to care for him. The courts seemed to believe that home was the best place for him and [over my objections], returned him to his mother.”
“I never got to see Michael again. Almost three months later, I learned that he had been killed, wrapped in a sheet, stuffed in a toolbox and then dumped into a dismal swamp.”
“From that point on, my life turned into physical and mental chaos. My efforts to understand became a plea to stop abusing children. I tied a Blue Ribbon on my van antenna to spark people’s curiosity. It caught on locally with restaurants, businesses, the police department as well as radio and television stations. They all started supporting me in my efforts to make a real awareness campaign.”
“The Blue Ribbon serves as a constant reminder to fight for our children. Join me as we work together to protect our most precious gift…our children. Please show your support by wearing a Blue Ribbon, putting one on your car and/or giving one to your friends and family and tell them what it means. You could be saving a child’s life.”
Bonnie’s simple idea to wear or display a Blue Ribbon to show her support for child abuse prevention was picked up by grassroots organizations across the country. The campaign reached California and Orange County in 1993. Today, The Raise Foundation produces a coordinated, countywide annual Blue Ribbon Campaign.
The act of one grandmother thousands of miles away lead us to this annual awareness raising campaign. Just think, what could happen if each one of us helped spread the word to a few of the people we come in contact with each day? The groundswell of support that would follow just might be enough to move us towards the day when our homes and communities are completely safe…
A place where it doesn’t hurt to be a child.
#KeepKidsSafe #BlueRibbon #ChildAbusePrevention #OCBlueRibbon
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