ATLANTA – Commissioner Clyde L. Reese, III of the Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS) joined Governor Nathan Deal along with First Lady Sandra Deal, the Governor’s Office of Children and Families, and the First Lady’s Children Cabinet to declare April as Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month. Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month is a time to recognize that we each play a part in promoting the social and emotional well-being of children and families in communities.
“It is important for communities to understand the vital role we all play in keeping Georgia’s children safe,” said DHS Commissioner Clyde Reese. “We must all do our part, whether it is through arranging an educational event in your community or encouraging conversations with neighbors on how to report or recognize abuse.”
Every 15 minutes, the Department receives a report of child abuse in Georgia. Understanding the prevalence of child abuse and how we can prevent it is an important step we can take now to shed light on this issue and prevent child abuse in our communities.
In 2012, DHS began providing support to families where there have been issues identified but there hasn’t been any allegation of child maltreatment in an effort to decrease the chance of abuse occurring in the home due to social and economic stress. Families receive assistance in identifying strengths and/or needs in order to define a plan of action. Other initiatives include:
• Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF) program which distributes $8.2 million in community based awards to support targeted areas of need from mental health supports, parent education, and crisis intervention services. Current funding supports 135 various community programs across the state.
• Partnering with Family Connection for the Community Partnership for the Protection of Children (CPPC) program. A grass roots effort that encourages lay people to work within high risk communities to identify reason(s) for child well being gaps and create a community plan for change.
To report child abuse and/or neglect during the day, please contact the local DFCS office in your county. To make a report of child abuse after hours (between 5 p.m. and 8:30 a.m.), weekends, and holidays call 1-855-GACHILD. If you believe a child is in immediate danger, please call the police (911).