April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and Kentucky Youth Advocates is a proud partner of the Face It® Movement to End Child Abuse. The Face It Movement was conceived and created in 2012 as a response to the public outcry against the increasing number of child abuse deaths in the Commonwealth, and it officially launched in April 2013 as an initiative led by Kosair Charities®. Face It directly addresses the unacceptable incidences of child abuse and neglect in Kentucky with the promotion of best practices in child abuse prevention and intervention, engaging the community, and advocating for effective policies to improve the child welfare system.

We know that preventing and ending child abuse takes interventions and education in communities and in homes all the way to changes in state policies and practices. Kentucky Youth Advocates, in partnership with the Face It policy team, helps to identify state policy that directly affects the response, prevention, and recognition of child abuse and neglect. Since its creation, Face It partners have advocated to ensure doctors are equipped on how to recognize early warning signs of pediatric abusive head trauma and intervene, educators are trained on recognizing and reporting child abuse, professionals working with kids don’t have a history of abusive behavior, and more.

Young people provide another perspective to problem solving that sometimes adults do not have, which is why engaging youth has become a critical component of the work to end child abuse. Starting the conversation about child abuse and neglect with young people also helps to normalize prevention and intervention discussions with Kentucky’s future parents and caregivers. Kentucky Youth Advocates, with a partnership with First Lady Glenna Bevin and the support of Casey Family Programs and Kosair Charities’ Face It campaign, has the opportunity to hear the youth perspective on putting an end to child abuse through the coordination of the First Lady’s Youth Leadership Council.

Kentucky Youth Advocates also educates and creates awareness around what members of communities across the Commonwealth can do to learn the signs of abuse and work to prevent it.

Knowing the signs of child abuse and neglect is an essential tool for anyone who interacts with children. Those signs include:

  • Bruising in babies who are not cruising yet
  • For a child of any age, bruising to the ears, neck, torso, buttocks, or genitals
  • Burns on a young baby or child, such as those caused by cigarettes or immersion in hot water
  • Pain when toileting, frequent yeast infections or urinary tract infections, or any sexually transmitted disease or related symptoms could be signs of sexual abuse
  • Aggression toward peers, pets, or other animals
  • Seems afraid of parents or other adults

Child abuse and neglect prevention is a hot topic in April, but our efforts extend beyond the 30 days. To make Kentucky the best place in America to be young, we must work every day to increase education, better support families, and keep kids safe. Preventing and ending child abuse is up to all of us.